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"environment" Tag


thinking small through The Incredible Shrinking (wo)Man


Thursday, November 30, 2017


please device-zoom in order to simulate
the viewing experience of a shrunken person :
 
Short people

Humans have been evolving, growing ever larger with no popular trends in the reverse. This movement is fueled by vast amounts of resources that the human being demands as it grows – things like energy, space, dairy and other consumer goods. In turn immense cost s are inflicted on the environment and fellow human beings, to get such produce on the shelves. This inherited idea that being taller is generally better is widespread in many societies and those in power tends to be taller than average as well.

Going against this widely held belief in the preferability of more height, Arne Hendriks proposes an reverse trend – to shrink. The Incredible Shrinking Man had, for the past eight years been proposing alternative possibilities diligently curated from all over the world and many specializations. The ultimate “theoretical” goal is to shrink the human average height to 50 centimeters, and greatly reduce the material demands that society consume. The endless litany of social observances and projects featured there offers wondrous though perhaps hard to implement promises to redesign human beings.

Man chicken

This is a good opportunity to examine the role of a change maker – if it is indeed possible, and if so how can anyone bring about such a leviathan and un-instinctive changes to the world. Perhaps someone have a brilliant idea, but how then should they show and communicateit to the rest of the world. With this project, Hendriks chose to continue contributing to the development and contribution of this project for the past eight years. Through this sustained timeline, examples have emerged across time, culture and region to show that this thought has perhaps been something lurking in the back of our mind. From this unique body of research Hendriks, often referred to as an artist establish short term, pop up studios in art establishments such as Stroom Den Haag and Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and ‘invite’ visitor to fish through the considerable body of research including a wall of postcards each illustrating a small info.

Studio of suspended disbelief

 

 

There seems to be no apparent connection from the project’s base in such white cube spaces to major established institutions, namely the government and commercial entities so one wonders how far can this idea go? However upon a closer look in the project’s heaps of documents lead to references to the real world abounds, with a prominent example of the Thai government’s policy to encourage the consumption of milk through its multi-state collaboration, the The Thai Danish dairy company. The government’s policy aimed for project growth of its younglings of 6cm for male, and a rather lesser 2cm extra for females. 

shirinking-man12

 

Short

Ocean Cleaning and Excessive Dreaming


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ocean Cleaning

‘A group exhibition that explores one of today’s most relevant topics: social design. The twenty-six designers featured in the show ‘dream aloud’ about a better world, and try to figure out ways to solve today’s complex societal issues. Venturing beyond aesthetic design, these designers show us ideas and technologies that can change the world.’

A steadily growing annoyance takes hold of me as I wander through the exhibition. Most projects at the Dream out Loud exhibition seem to me to be primarily about aesthetics and do not really concern themselves with providing solutions for today’s social and environmental issues at all. Quite an amount of goodwill is required to even see them as ‘social design’.

Projects that do engage with socially relevant subjects tend to focus on symbolic solutions that should rather be seen as ways to raise awareness for a problem rather than to actually solve it. From a practical point of view these solutions are most of the time completely unrealistic, or solve such a marginal part of the problem they deal with that their actual impact can be disregarded. Of course the designers are mostly aware of this. It is even stated on the website of the Stedelijk Museum.

But nonetheless, it leaves me thinking that the engagement with societal issues serves the promotion of the design and the designer rather than the other way around.

SONY DSC

One project breaks the rule. Ocean Cleanup, initiated by the Dutch student Boyan Slat, of whom I included a picture. When still in high school he devised a plan to clear all of the worlds’ oceans of the plastic that it has been polluted with in the past decades. He wants to use the ocean’s own natural currents to filter all the plastic out, eliminating the need for a costly moving vessel to drag the net. Although the feasibility of the project is not unanimously agreed upon, there is a good chance that it can, and will, be executed.

Ocean Cleanup provides a very real solution. In this it is different from all the other projects at the exhibition, and accordingly, it remains unmentioned in most [x] reviews [x] I’ve read [x]. A disinterest in the project can also be felt in how the Stedelijk mentions it on their own website as a ‘giant vacuum cleaner’, which is simply not what it is. One could argue that it is not even design. Boyan Slat is an engineer. I bet he has probably never even seen an art school or a gallery from the inside. Decisions considering the aesthetics of his project do not seem to even remotely interest him. Save for the purpose of promotion, of course, which is crucial for the funding of his plan, and probably also the sole reason he submitted his project to the exhibition in the first place.

What Slat is doing is, bluntly stated, vastly more important than design could ever be. Planting roses in the streets of Amsterdam to ‘make the city a little greener’ or making dresses using wax simply doesn’t compare to actually cleaning the entire ocean. It’s not even on the same planet. In a hundred years, when the whole exhibition and its content is long forgotten, the Stedelijk might not even be there anymore by then, his work will still be visible in the clearness of the water. And the beauty is that Boyan Slat himself probably doesn’t even care about being remembered, or how his project relates to the world of design. He just wants to clean the ocean.

 

Excessive Dreaming

I’m watching a TED Talk by Boyan Slat. As I just told you, he’s a pretty great guy. You know those motivational quotes you sometimes see on Facebook? Or those posters you sometimes see on Central Station? He’s living them.

Boyan Slat Dream II

He’s totally got it. The entire ocean. Quite literally the biggest thing on Earth.

Thinking of numerous impressive feats Boyan Slat has already accomplished, the prestigious institutes and people he has worked together with, the magazines and newspaper articles he has been in, I cannot help myself but to feel a slight sense of embarrassment. What am I doing here, sitting in my bed with my laptop, trying to get started on a relatively simple writing assignment, half-concentrated, slacking off from time to time into the wonderful world of distraction that is the internet, when there are so many great problems to be solved? I’m roughly in the most comfortable position imaginable if you think about it. I’m a white middle class guy from a wealthy nation, with loving parents, good education, a fully functional body and everything else the majority of people on this planet do not have according to statistics. My current lack of initiative stands absolutely unexcused.

Luckily, help is on the way. The video is flanked by a series of suggested video’s on how to learn any language in less than six months, how sitting down can kill you, how to know your life purpose in under five minutes, how to become a ‘memory master’, whatever that may be, how to become a millionaire in three years, how to retire by the age of twenty, and so on.

It seems all the wisdom I need to succeed is right in front of me. If Boyan Slat can do it, so can I. He is only one year older than me. Really, what am I doing here in my bed with my laptop? No more time to waste! There are more than enough grand issues to be taken on, there has to be at least one for me to solve. Can’t be too hard. I only have to get myself together, to take control, and to get up and do it! I can already feel the energy flowing through my body. This is going to be great. I’m going to be great. Nothing can stop me anymore!

So I close my laptop, forcefully throw back my blankets, step out of my bed, do some more stretches because my legs are asleep, realize I actually really have to finish this assignment, and sit back down again.

Everyday life does not seem to let big dreams get in its way.

Empty wallet – NO WASTE


Monday, May 27, 2013

“The Sea Chair”

When I first saw the Sea Chair I immediately reacted on the aesthetics – it’s imperfections, hints of craftsmanship, and it’s strange plastic molding. The plastic resembled, though not clearly, marble stone. Soon after I found out of it’s relation to the Great Pacific Patch [x].
The Great Pacific patch is a floating soup of plastic debris covering an area one and a half time the size of USA and is trapped in the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Many organizations have tried to clean it but it has been deemed as “the worlds largest dump” – feared impossible to defeat.

The plastic debris releases chemical additives and plasticizers into the ocean and finds is way into the food we eat. The fishes and seabirds mistake the plastic for food, as you can see on the picture above showing a Laysan albatross chick (90 % of Laysan albatross chick carcasses and regurgitated stomach contents contain plastics.)

The Sea Chair is made of plastic debris collected from this garbage patch. It is part of a project with the same name lead by design duo Studio Swine, Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves; in collaboration with Kieran Jones determined to clean this floating dump and lower the production of plastic

The overall concept is to design with sustainable systems while treating the aesthetics with the same importance. With the use of design they form the plastic waste into an aesthetically desirable object. They believe that desire is the factor for change.

The sea chair project uses craftsmanship, together with recycling and protection for the environment, as a part in the ecological cycle. Like a craftman the designer should follow the whole process of production. Studio Swine uses tools and created devices to collect and process the marine debris along the shoreline. The Nurdler is a machine, that was created while being inspired by the miners, sorting plastic from the other waste. The next step is in the Sea Press which is a furnace and hydraulic press that heats and molds the plastic into the stool.

The Nurdler

The Sea Press

The stool is just the start in Studio Swine’s environmental cause. They also want to convert fishing boats into plastic refineries, so that the fishermen would collect plastic instead of fish. They mean that this would lead to lowering the demand for new plastics and therefore also the production of new plastic. Eventually this would also mean that the fisher men could continue fishing instead of picking plastic.

The connection between chairs and the seamen comes from a tradition amongst Britain’s port towns where sailors were required to have carpentry skills for repairing wooden ships at sea and after they retire many of them would continue to make wood furniture, in this case instead of wooden chairs the fishermen would make plastic chairs.

The Sea Chair proves that Eco-design goes hand in hand with craftsmanship and collectivity. Eco-design, since the 60’s, has questioned consumerism, taking inspiration from craftsmanship before the industrial revolution when eco-design was considered a norm and goods such as furniture tended to be made locally by craftsmen using local resources. Studio Swine follows the eco-design concepts of “Do-it-yourself” and engaging the community by making the production process accessible. On their website you can access a manual and video for how to build the devices and create the stool .

Though I desire one of those sea chairs, I’m not gonna be able to make one in this short amount of time. Instead I decided to make the smallest effort in creating from recycling waste material. I was going to empty my wallet from all the “shit” I gathered when I decided to use it as my “waste” material.

So I limited my self to this source material and one tool

I intended to make jewelery or at least functional objects but I’m not a designer so it resulted in something else…

Repeat.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

listen to William Fitzsimmons while reading X


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