Task 6: Design for Nature

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Cranwell Park, Braybrook

At first glance, this image conveys the idea of an untouched wilderness, until our eyes are drawn back to the concrete steps and steel railings that man has made. Marris believes that “we can find beauty in nature, even if signs of humanity are present” (Marris, 2011, p.3) and I think this statement is very true. I felt comfortable when walking along the path within this image, because I knew where I was going, there was no unknown; I knew which direction I was going in and how to get back. In relation to Marris’ (2011) statement, I think that humanity has gathered a sense of safety within environments altered by humanity. Fences gives us a sense of security and although they restrict us from being completely enveloped in nature, I don’t think we mind, because for all we know we are safer behind the fence.

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Vacant block of land, Ashley St, West Footscray

After going on a long walk throughout my neighbourhood I also happened to come across many vacant blocks of land, soon to be covered in slabs of concrete and a patch of pebbles. Just imagine how many different ecosystems are living on this block, is it right for us to wipe them all out in order to suit our own lifestyle? Most of these blocks of land don’t get a second glance, they are mowed of their nature and stripped of their wild beauty to make way for humanities touch.
“Instead of focusing on the past, they are looking to the future and asking themselves what they’d like it to look like” (Marris, 2011, p.13).

Another reason for why humanity is shaping nature around us is because we are not capable as human beings to look after the wild, untouched nature we are given here on Earth. We use, we litter, we wound, we leave. I think rambunctious gardens are the best idea we’ve had yet.

References:
Marris, E. (2011). Rambunctious Garden: saving nature in a post-wild world. New York: Bloomsbury.

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Activity 6: Reflections

A) I found the topic of Data Visualisation, which we studied in week two, really interesting. I think I enjoyed it the most because I learnt quite a bit. I’m a visual learner and this is why the topic really took my attention. I loved viewing the TED talks, because these were so moving and engaging, it was almost hard not to take in all the information. The visual side of data is remarkable and I think it is only just the tip of the iceberg of what we can do with data in the near future.

B) The topic I learnt the most was Waste=Food (Cradle-to-Cradle), which we studied in week ten. I think this is because of the film we had to watch, which, even though it went for a long time, it was very informative and very engaging. I think it really was the Waste=Food(Van Hattum, 2007) video that gave me the most information and made it easier to understand the concept.

C) The reading I found the most interesting was Defining Design as Activism (Thorpe, 2011). It wasn’t the topic that interested me the most, it was the way the reading was written;I found it was very well written. I have actually read more of Thorpe’s work, merely because she has a very good way of putting her point of view out there and engaging the reader through her experience and profession.

D) I enjoyed Assessment 2: Activity 3, where we had to compare tricks and effects of Michel Gondry and George Melies, because it was the most useful in building my academic skills. It was this activity which forced me to really dig deep and concentrate on the information placed in front of me, in order to make proper comparisons, because there wasn’t a reading that would give me the answers.

Task 5: Cradle-to-Cradle Thinking

GreenPackagingWFDeli

Whole Foods Deli Container. Retrieved from http://assets.inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2010/08/GreenPackagingWFDeli.jpg

Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger (2007) believe humanity should be giving back to the eco-system as much as it gives back to us; it provides energy and food for us, so why can we not do the same? Sustainability is just the tip of the iceberg, it is okay, but it is not the best approach. Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger (2007) argue that instead of using less energy, we should design buildings that produce energy and instead of reducing waste, we should design to eliminate the concept of waste. Up-cycle waste is far better than recyclable waste (Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger, 2007).

Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger (2007) state that “being less bad isn’t being good” (2007, p.79) and this is why they have formulated a list of steps which can be followed to achieve eco-effectiveness. A design which follows at least two of these steps is the Deli Containers designed by Whole Foods (2012). The Deli Containers (2012) are a clamshell-styled container which has been designed to hold greasy, watery and oily foods. The containers are made from “annually renewable bulrush and a blend of other plant fibres” (Whole Foods Market, 2012). They are also harvested from the wild, making them “compostable in 90 days” (Whole Foods Market, 2012).

Whole Foods have clearly followed step one in Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger, (2007) list for eco-effectiveness, because their product is “free of” (Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger, 2007) x-substances, which have dangerous and harmful impacts on all life on Earth. This then follows on to show how Whole Foods (2012) has thought very long and hard about the materials they have used to design the Deli containers and have distinctly shown that they have considered the effect each material has upon biological metabolisms.

The aspect I enjoy most about the design is how it has followed step 5 (Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger, 2007). There is a “reinvention of the relationship of the product with the customer,” (Braggart, McDonough & Bollinger, 2007) where the customer is not paying for ownership of the materials the product consists of, but for the service it provides and I believe this is a very clever approach.

References:

Braungart, M., McDonough, W. & Bollinger, A. (2007). Cradle-to-cradle design: creating healthy emissions e a strategy for eco-effective product and system design. Journal of Cleaner Production. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0959652606002587?np=y

Whole Foods Market. (2012). Whole Foods Market’s Green Mission Report. Retrieved from https://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/sites/default/files/media/Global/PDFs/2012GreenMissionReport.pdf

Task 4: Design for a Sustainable Future

The Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel (2011) is an eco-pluralistic design, built for a sustainable future, which conforms to certain criteria listed in Fraud-Luke’s (2002) manifesto which can be used to identify “designs that tread lightly on the planet” (Fraud-Luke, 2002, p.15).

Criterion eight of Fraud-Luke’s (2002) manifesto states that by re-examining original assumptions behind existing concepts, one will then avoid innovation inertia and this has been demonstrated by the Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel (2011). Our concept of traditional sacred spaces for worship and remembrance is that they should be structured to support and reflect a particular religion. They should also be grand and extravagant, using rich materials to show the power of the divinities. BVN Architecture’s (2011) Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel, in contrast, has re-examined this concept of traditional sacred spaces and shows no partiality; it has been designed to welcome and accommodate all religious beliefs, faiths and religions, making it quite unique. The individual people of the military devoting their lives to protect our country, come from many different backgrounds and religions and the Memorial Chapel (2011) has shown great respect for these variances. Though its aesthetic appearance isn’t grand and hasn’t used rich sumptuous materials, it is still a tranquil and spiritual space made of zinc, stone and timber, materials that have “life cycle benefits” (Arch Daily, 2011).  However, it is not just the experiential quality, or the design of the Chapel, which makes it a remarkable project; it is also the materials and internal structure, which manifest the architecture’s sensitivity to the environment, demonstrating an eco-pluralistic, sustainable design, according to Fraud-Luke (2002).

Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel (2011) has been designed to “minimise the ecological footprint,” (Fraud-Luke, 2002, p.15) which is criterion three of the manifesto (2002). The Memorial Chapel (2011) reduces the use of energy and water through the use of “high-performance glazing and lighting control systems” (Arch Daily, 2011) and collects rain water instead of using electricity to pump water through  pipes. If the Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel (2011) did not conform to criteria three of Fraud-Luke’s (2002) manifesto for eco-pluralistic design (Fraud-luke, 2002), there would be “unnecessary daily consumption of massive quantities of electricity and water,” (Fraud-Luke, 2002, p.13) which would inflict further pollution and harm to the earth.

I have come to the conclusion that designers don’t need to create the most aesthetic or extravagant designs in order for them to be considered sustainable, they merely need to equip humanity in their every day lives whilst working with the environment. Our planet doesn’t need much to survive, so why are we not meeting its needs? Designers need to pay more attention the materials they use, how they have been created/manufactured, and what they can design to accommodate both the Earth and its population, without seeking to benefit just one.

References:

Arch Daily. (2011). Puckapunyal Military Area Memorial Chapel/BVN Architecture. Retrieved from http://www.archdaily.com/148296/puckapunyal-military-area-memorial-chapel-bvn-architecture

Fraud-Luke, A. (2002). Design for a sustainable future : introduction to “the eco-design handbook.” Retrieved from https://ilearn.swin.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-5021915-dt-content-rid-25731910_2/courses/2015-SO2-DDD20004-208836/UnitResources/pdf/Fuad-Luke%20A%202002_The%20Eco-Design%20Handbook_Introduction_Manifesto%20Eco-Pluralistic%20Design.pdf

Activity 5: Letter Arguing for Funds

Private and Confidential
The Ian Potter Foundation
2435 Polk St, Suite 21
SAN FRANSISCO 94109
CALIFORNIA

To Whom It May Concern,
The Mulago Foundation

I am writing to you on behalf of the Non-Government Potting the Globe Organisation, in regards to our innovative design that we believe can benefit a wider range of communities.

The pot-in-pot cooler is a design which uses an environmentally-friendly method of thermodynamics, to keep vegetables, fruits and other foods refrigerated. The way this design works is by placing a small pot within a larger pot, then filling the space between the two pots with sand and water. The food is then placed within the small pot and covered by a dampened towel.

The refrigerator is one of the highest energy consumption appliances on the market today, meaning that it greatly increases our carbon footprint. The pot-in-pot cooler is a product that can extensively reduce this carbon output, as it does not need electricity. This in turn, will inevitably decrease your energy usage, and, of course, using less energy means a healthier planet. For communities that do not have the the luxury or accessibility to such appliance, leaves them struggling for a way to preserve their food, sometimes resulting in hunger. The pot-in-pot cooler is an inexpensive and simple design that could alleviate this problem that occurs in less fortunate, poorer communities. If the pot-in-pot cooler were to be placed in more communities, imagine the global flow-on effect that would occur.

The pot-in-pot cooler has already proven to be successful in communities across Africa, where the climate is hot and dry, communities are able to keep their produce fresh. The benefits of this design not only lengthen the lifespan of fruit and vegetables by a substantial amount, meaning that it stays fresh for longer, but also minimises the amount of food waste in the area as well as hunger. In places with more fortunate communities, the pot-in-pot cooler would still be a benefit, reducing food shops and decreasing food and electricity bills. This shows that the pot-in-pot cooler is not limited to a certain community, it can contribute to all.

The Mulago Foundation’s mission is to focus on “solutions that meet the basic needs of the poorest families” and to improve the “the well-being of the most vulnerable” (The Mulago Foundation, 1993) and as the pot-in-pot cooler is a product designed specifically to improve the lives living within unfortunate communities, it merely parallels this mission with the same intention. I believe this design can be of assistance to not only our polluted planet, but most importantly its communities which struggle to live without proper resources and this is why I leave it in your position to consider and evaluate the benefits of this pot-in-pot cooler, in hope that with your help it will have the chance to contribute and benefit more communities in the near future.

Yours Sincerely,

Miss Ellen Ortmann
Potting the Globe Organisation (NGO)

References:

The Mulago Foundation. (1993). Retrieved from http://mulagofoundation.org

Solar Cookers International Network. (n.d.). Pot-in-Pot Cooler. Retrieved from http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Pot-in-pot_cooler

The Permaculture Research Institute. (2008). A Refrigerator that Runs without Electricity. Retrieved from http://permaculturenews.org/2008/08/11/a-refrigerator-that-runs-without-electricity/

Activity 4: Compiling a reference list for your Issue essay

Option 2: Explore three recent communication/digital design media/interior design/architectural design projects by designers working in Australia, New Zealand and/or Pacific nations and explain how these examples of design activism have responded to one or more contemporary social problems.

References

Books/Ebooks

Fraud-Luke, A. (2009). Design Activism: Beautiful Strangeness for a Sustainable World. Sterling, Vaginia, US: Earthscan. EBL Ebook library. Retrieved from http://reader.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/(S(jnsm1phgsmbkmgdjlhn1t1z3))/Reader.aspx?p=476576&o=132&u=aDQ4uH456Fw8C6mqQH14YA%3d%3d&t=1440464948&h=D80A2811B651628DE1D78575540B9ED3B50AFDCF&s=20819196&ut=405&pg=1&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1&sd=1#

Heller, S. & Vienne, V. (2003). Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility. New York, Allworth Press. EBL Ebook Library. Retrieved from http://reader.eblib.com.au.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/(S(um21tmrkmw4umuarbqz5ja2o))/Reader.aspx?p=1052355&o=132&u=aDQ4uH456Fw8C6mqQH14YA%3d%3d&t=1440465606&h=F6CA7248A0F811AE6930539C07869584D4CF38D0&s=20819541&ut=405&pg=1&r=img&c=-1&pat=n&cms=-1&sd=1#

Thorpe, A. (2012). Architecture and Design versus Consumerism: how design activism confronts growth. New York, Routledge. EBL Ebook Library. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/lib/swin/detail.action?docID=10572214

Roberts, L. (2006). Good: Ethics of Graphic Design. Lausanne, Switzerland: AVA Publishing.

Articles

Thorpe, A. (2011). Defining Design as Activism, Design Activism. Retrieved from http://designactivism.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Thorpe-definingdesignactivism.pdf

Di Cintio, L. (2014). Design Activism: Developing models, modes and methodologies of practice, Idea Journal. Brisbane, Queensland University of Technology. Retrieved from http://idea-edu.com/journal/2014-idea-journal/

Websites

Rawsthorn, A. (2014). Fixing Stuff, Repairing the World, New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/arts/design/the-fab-mind-a-tokyo-show-highlights-design-activism.html?_r=3

Rawsthorn, A. (2013). Expanding the Definitions of Design, New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/arts/design/Expanding-the-Definitions-of-Design.html

Rule29. (2000). Creative Matter. Retrieved from http://rule29.com/culture/how-we-see/

Media

Anti-Memorial to Heroin Overdose Victims [ image ] (2002). Retrieved 11/08/15 from https://www.newcastle.edu.au/profile/sueanne-ware

Darling Quarter Project [ image ]. (2012). Retrieved 11/08/15 from http://architecture2030.org/40626305768/

TEDGlobal. (Producer), & Philloton, E. (Presenter). (2010, July). Teaching Design for Change [ video ]. TED Talks. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/emily_pilloton_teaching_design_for_change?language=en

White Light [ image ]. (2013). Retrieved 11/08/15 from http://inkahoots.com.au/projects/white-light/~details

Task 3: Comparing tricks and effects by Michel Gondry and George Méliès

Heard them Say by Kanye West, Directed by Michel Gondry (2012)

Michel Gondry has the extraordinary ability to turn the images he sees in his head into captivating and unique visuals in motion on screen. Gondry’s work can be described as unusual or rudimental in a sense, but this is where his childhood dreams and imaginations come to life. In-camera techniques are used, much like a magician uses his hands, to create illusions that trick the mind, as well as the eyes. Michel Gondry’s films, such as the music video Heard them Say (2012) which he directed for Kanye West, are very similar in many ways to George Méliès’ short films,  such as The Vanishing Lady (1896).

Mèliès and Gondry evoke a sense of wonder in their films and aren’t “afraid to invent visual singularity” (Thill, 2006), but the real similarity between the two directors is their use of in-camera techniques. Substitution splicing (Ezra, 2000), also known as ‘stop motion’ (Ezra, 2000), is an in-camera technique that originates in the work of George Méliès and is commonly used in many of Michel Gondry’s films. For example, in the music clip Heard them Say (2012), throughout the entire clip Gondry creates the illusion that the beds and everything in the shopping centre are moving on their own accord, when in actual fact Gondry has used ‘substitution splicing’ (Ezra, 2000), where he has taken many shots of the bed in different positions all over the store by stopping the camera, moving the bed slightly and the starting the camera, ‘stop motion’ (Ezra, 2000). This technique was also used in Méliès short film The Vanishing Lady (1896), but rather than using it for a moving effect, Méliès uses it to create a disappearing/reappearing effect where a cloth is placed over a lady sitting on a chair and each time it is removed the lady disappears and a skeleton takes her place, which is all done with the technique of ‘stop motion’ (Ezra, 2000).

It is evident that Gondry has been inspired by the techniques founded by Méliès, which brings about comparisons of their works, but I believe there is still contrast. Although Gondry uses similar techniques to Méliès, I believe it is how he uses these techniques which separates him from Méliès and makes his work recognisable for his unique concepts and powerful story-telling, rather than Méliès techniques.

References:

Change Before Going Productions. (2011) The Vanishing Lady [media]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7-x93QagJU

Enigmatic Lucifer. (2012). Kanye West: heard ’em say ft. adam levine (original video) [media]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Bu3tp4lLg

Partizen Official. (2014). I’ve been twelve forever. [media]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF8kN-M2XNY

Ezra, E. (2000). George Méliès, Machester & New York: Machester University Press. Retrieved from http://onlineres.swin.edu.au.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/497036.pdf

Thill, S. (2006). How my Brain Works: an interview with Michel Gondry. Retrieved from http://brightlightsfilm.com/brain-works-interview-michel-gondry/#.Vc1_plzuUas