Jordan Frith author

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Published: 2nd Nov '23



This title is due to be published on 2nd November, and will be despatched as soon as possible..

Barcodes are one of the most ignored yet impactful objects of the last fifty years, and they have a much more interesting and controversial history than most people realize.

Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things. Barcodes are about as ordinary as an object can be. They’re everywhere and impact everything from how we shop to how we travel to how the global economy is managed, but few people likely give them more than a second thought. In a way, their “ordinariness” is the ultimate symbol of their success. After all, barcodes have remained mostly unchanged (except for a few exceptions like QR Codes) for the last 50 years, and yet billions of barcodes are still scanned each day. But behind the mundanity of the barcode lies an important and interesting history. Barcodes are objects that bridged the gap between physical objects and digital databases and helped pave the way for the contemporary Internet of Things. They were highly controversial at points and protested by consumer groups and labor unions and used as a stand-in for capitalism and surveillance in science fiction and art installations. This book tells the story of the barcode’s complicated history and examines how an object so crucial to so many parts of our lives became more ignored and more ordinary as it spread throughout the world. Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.

ISBN: 9781501399916

Dimensions: unknown

Weight: unknown

160 pages