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Arts & Culture

In Pods We Trust: How The Pod Prevails In Consumer- And Pop-Culture

Whitney Smith

We wake up to coffee from a pod, listen to music on our pod devices, drive to work in our Smart cars, Fiats, or other increasingly pod-shaped vehicles, sit all day in a cubicle (pod), relax after work in a hip, new float pod, wash our clothes using detergent pods, and while we wait for them to dry, we listen to our favorite podcast. Sound about right?

What is it about pods that we're so drawn to? And why do an increasing number of our products and services all feature the word pod in their name?

Is it possible the pod's slick, liminal aesthetic, or the allure of its Pandorian promise holds some sway over our subconscious? Might Freud have something to say about its curvature, or its role in nature as a place of transformation, emergence, and ultimately independence?

Perhaps it's the pod's minimalism and symmetry which appeal to us as we negotiate an increasingly chaotic world. Or is it simply an efficient design suited to meet the needs of our busy lives?

This hour, we speak with experts and discuss the mystery of the pod in consumer- and pop-culture. We'll also look back over recent history and explore the possibility that we are, and always have been, pod-people!


  • Blanka Domagalska - Lecturer at Otis College of Art and Design teaching courses on product Design, with expertise in art history, media and cultural theory, philosophy and aesthetic liminality
  • Elvina Beck - Co-founder and CEO of Podshare, a membership based real estate startup designed to allow low cost pod living in major cities
  • Kotaro Aoki: Former philosophy major at Wesleyan University and self professed pod napper
  • Jim Knipfel - Novelist and author of a series of critically acclaimed memoirs including Slackjaw, Quitting the Nairobi Trio, and Ruining It for Everybody; he also authored the longrunning "Slackjaw" column which appeared in several publications

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.

Josh was a producer for WNPR's talk shows. He has produced for Where We Live and was a producer for The Colin McEnroe Show until 2020.

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