Saturday, April 25, 2009

Your turn #12

I've posted some interesting shorts to reflect a bit on our last class discussion. What is the place of design in the Twenty-First Century? Go ahead.

17 comments:

Magdalena said...

I just want to say that I'm so upset after watching those videos. Watching it makes me so sad. We waste so much energy, food, pollute water, air, soil and everything that surrounds us, and we still just want more and more. I look at it and I'm thinking we should certainly do something about it. Make people stop buying too much. I see all the technological waste: cell phones, tvs, computers, etc. Then I'm thinking we are never going to stop. Every month or even sooner a new verson of iphone is coming up, new pc, new apple, new tv, new this new that. People will buy it. Companies will never stop producing it because that makes money and isn't our world all about money now? We've got an economical crisis right now. Who's going to think of how to save Earth before we think of how to save the market? When economy gets better we are going to think what new gadget we can buy. I'm sad to even think that we as designers are supposed to make people buy!! Overbuy!!! (if that's a word). Designers make commercials that encourage to buy more and more. How to resolve it? How to make it stop before it's too late and we don't have anything to save anymore?

Elysa D. Batista said...

I’ve read Magdalena’s entry and must say that it’s spot on. We waste and will be expected to promote waste through design (unless our designs are for a green sustainable company, but odds are they won’t be.) It makes me wonder if it is plausible to design, create jobs, and not waste. While there are some of us that would love to change the way that things are slowly but surely, it is impossible to smother the need to constantly want in every human being. Especially since we are trained and told what to want through commercial ads from an early age and wind up swiping our credit cards and spending money on crap that we don’t need. So the question of “what the place of design is in the Twenty-First Century” is a difficult one. Do we strive to battle the consumerist monster in us all by designing things that promote awareness and starve? Or do we sell out and continue to create and design what is expected of us by society and survive? Is it possible to do both? I honestly don’t know. I think that it is a matter of give and take where we begin to give in our ideals and creative wants as those we work for continue to take what they need of us to fulfill the tasks at hand. Even if it’s not possible to survive and create design that helps the environment, is aesthetically pleasing, and serves a purpose, then as the country which contributes the most waste and consumes the most resources on this planet, I would have to say that we should all cut back and starve a little anyways if we want to seriously change the state of things.

A.T. said...

Of course it is possible! You're the next generation of designers!

Magdalena said...

well, That's true that it is possible to do, what are the chances though? We designers and other artists are possibly more aware of the "bad" things that are going on. I would even say that designing "green" is nowadays trendy. We see it everywhere, but how many regular people actually care about it? The rising underclass- do they care? I think they best interest is to survive on the streets not worrying about the Earth surviving. How many fish and other sea food lovers know about the water pollution and the gigantic island of garbage in the ocean? Pretty soon there won't be anymore seafood- it will all be dead. How many ipod/ iphone/ iwhatever lovers care about the technological waste they produce? I dare to think not many. So how do we get to all those people that are not aware or simply don't care (because it's not going to effect them but maybe their grandkids)? So far it seems like TV, posters, even movies, don't really help much and don't raise the awareness, at least no enough. What do we do then...?

A.T. said...

Magdalena: Precisely! Maybe "green" is trendy because it is actual, momentous and important. You do your part and hope others do the same.

Annika said...

Not surprisingly, I completely agree with both Magdalena and Elysa. I do personally enjoy the great new designs that are created for consumption, particularly in fashion and technology, but when I pause to think about it, am rather disturbed by the way that people capriciously throw things away and start anew. As they suggested, there is a definite connection between advertising newly designed products and the rate in which people behave in a wasteful manner. It may be an unpopular movement within the general public, but it would really do the Earth a greater service if everyone did cut back on their consumption and dealt with having a computer that might be three years old instead of a brand new one whenever the design has been updated.

pais said...

It's a vicious cycle that unfortuantely will not end. ever since the industrial revolution and even before that, people are concerned solely with making money and production of objects. Regardless of how green we become, and how much we try to save the world, there will still remain people in the world who just do not care. And on top of those people who do not care, the major industries will continually produce earth unfriendly items that will end up in landfills and other places polluting the earth we live in. We have created this problem, we have created the downfall of the earth, and i am sure we will be here to see it go down as well. as wonderful and cool as technology is, it has an extremely negative impact on the world. Design is a huge part of this because it is what makes us want to purchase these things. we can take design and put it towards a positive thing trying to help, but regardless of what we do, we will never get 100 % out of everyone.
its pretty gross and disgusting, and easier to ignore than to try and help and that is why i feel people do not care. I , too, agree with the rest of the class. I think that most people would agree with us, the ones that take action are the ones who differ from the bunch.

Ryan Eckert said...

As we have discussed in class, I think that it’s important as designers to help encourage others and to design things to be more sustainable. But it seems the odds are against us, no matter how hard we try, there are some people who just don’t understand we need to change the way we live. Maybe we can help convince people through our designs. In advertising, we try and convince people buy things. Imagine if we all put our efforts together and made a campaign to change the way lived their everyday lives. Somehow the government needs to teach these people that change is necessary, I think that we can accomplish this through advertising in the media.

I was watching a video online with my brother the other day and I was shocked to see how much we really waste.
Check it out.

http://kcet.org/socal/2008/09/foreclosure-alley.html

Nicole Severi said...

The video that struck me the most was the retouching. I know it's done on a regular basis (my father is photographer and does it for a living), but to see the before and after be that drastic is taking it to a whole new level. At that point we are no longer enhancing natural beauty, we are designing beauty.

This class has taught me to think of design in a much broader way. Even in class, with our discussions of the environment and chicken packaging, I never realized the true to scope of what design is becoming today. It's not just about art, advertising, business, food, or even the environment. We're designing ourselves. While some Photoshop retouching is only a fake design of our beauty, the overwhelming trend in plastic surgery is not. People are actually designing their own bodies according to other people's ideas of "the perfect design."

This is where you can really see how much design has an influence. A company designs a doll called Barbie and woman across the country run out to copy the look. With today's technology we can pretty much make ourselves whatever we want, we can practically become a new person.

victoria said...

What is our responsibility as "21st century designers"? We're supposed to be the innovators, the ones who come up with the trends and send them out into the world. That's why green design is so trendy, because some designer somewhere started to care about putting the idea of sustainability out there. It is our job to inform the general public of the social problems in our world. Only thing is, we have to make it pretty/funny/intriguing so people will stop and look to begin with.

As far as these videos are concerned, yes, they are appalling. Yes, they are excessive, ridiculous, etc. I for one don't see the purpose of having a sea lion in a mall, or a roller coaster. At the same time, however, I am not surprised by any of these bells and whistles. We are the generation of "give me. give me more. give it to me now." Just the other day, a coworker of mine got upset at another coworker who hadn't answered her facebook message. when he asked her when she sent it, she replied "10 minutes ago!" in an exaggerated huff. We're so used to instant feedback and gratification from texting and IMing that it is only a small jump to wanting a rollercoaster in a mall. Think about it this way: you're in a mall, you want a thrill to shake up your routine, but you're too lazy to drive to an amusement park. Who knows, by the time you get to said amusement park you may not want to go on the roller coaster anymore. in short: you want it, and you want it now, before the impulse goes away. I know I'm a very impatient person, too, but I'd like to think I'm not THAT bad. Either way, all these excesses are built upon each other in the name of capitalism. The bigger, the better. I think as designers, we have the power to challenge the status quo. Who knows, maybe one day we'll be able to knock that roller coaster down.

Emily said...

I totally agree with everyone’s comments, you’ve all made excellent points. However, I don’t think people will cut back on their consumption and wastefulness that arises from the constant redesign of new products, as annika suggested. Yes, maybe people are cutting back now because of the economy, but will people begin to cut back to save the environment, aside from the environmentalists, I don’t think so. In addition to the effort of trying to inform people and make them more eco-friendly, the products they buy should be good or at least better for the environment than they have been in the past. For example, yes many people dumped their old macbooks for the new version, but the new macbook is highly recycleable, energy efficient, lacking of previous toxins, and comes with reduced packaging. So, when a new version comes around and people trade in these versions for the new ones (which will hopefully be even better for the environment), the thrown out macbooks will not cause much harm to the environment. In addition, they can even be repaired and sent to places in Africa or elsewhere, as seen in the Recycling to Africa video. People may over-consume, but there’s not much that can drastically change that, especially with this design society where almost everything is an advertisement, and when malls with massive parking lots are taking over. However, what happens when that mall becomes integrated with the environment to be a highly eco-friendly building, when the parking lots are roofed with solar panels, and when people drive there in eco-friendly cars or clean forms mass transportation? The result then isn’t so drastic, and people will see all this green technology in front of their faces, and in turn, they may subconsciously become more eco-friendly themselves.

Emily said...

I also found the “Try to make buildings imitate ecosystems” youtube very interesting. Some of the buildings shown are unbelievable, good for the environment without compromising any aesthetics. Ken Yeang explains that the buildings should imitate ecosystems, which do not produce any waste, and their sole source of energy is the sun. He says that in order to accomplish this, buildings should be in a sort of equilibrium with biotic and abiotic components. And these abiotic/biotic components are selected to work in unison based upon the environment. Together, a more sustainable building results, with less waste, and less harmful toxins released into the atmosphere, which harm our health as well as other ecosystems. One toxin that is seen absolutely everywhere is polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, the plastic of choice – cheap and durable. I suggest everyone stay away from plastics as much as possible, but PVCs are not only found in plastic, but also in clothing, upholstery, flooring, building materials, etc. plasticizers, such as phthalates make PVC’s more flexible. But all this stuff is so unnatural, what is plastic, there is nothing natural about it. The plasticizers that make the plastic flexible can evaporate into your food or atmosphere, and they are known carcinogens. The bioplastic youtube made an interesting point that the things that are shortest lasting, such as a container of fruit, are packaged in a material that is longest lasting. When I think of these harmful plasticizers and PVC, I also wonder, how much more eco friendly are these new eco-friendly water bottles that you %25 less plastic than previous bottles. First off, water bottles are not eco-friendly at all, no matter how much plastic they use, but these new bottles use less plastic through use of more plasticizers which thin the plastic out and make it more flexible. This is then released into the water we drink and the atmosphere as toxins. So there may be less plastic, but more harmful chemicals, I say it’s a lose lose situation.

Lizzy said...

Plastics began to first emerge in the 1800s, but didn’t enter the consumer mainstream until after WWII. According to Wikipedia, by this time “American consumers enthusiastically adopted the endless range of colorful, cheap, and durable plastic gimmicks being produced for new suburban home life.” This revolutionary invention allowed people a cheaper and easier way to live their everyday lives. Now, this invention has flourished and has become a necessity today. At the time during the rise of plastics, there was not much information about their effects on the environment, and there was no global warming scare. It was only until 1995 when recycling programs became widespread around the US. Now, some recycled plastics like #7 are being associated with certain cancers and even recalled. One popular plastic invention that has been linked to cancer is Earl Tupper’s Tupperware. Consumers in 1946 probably didn’t see that coming.
Now that we know more about our current environmental dilemmas, designers can do something about it. They are the ones creating the packaging that we all end up turning into waste. It may be difficult to change our consumer-driven society into a completely efficient one, but designers these days have the power to create products that can help begin the process and spread the word.

CardM said...

I reiterate that I am from the metropolis of NYC, where malls and stores are on the ground floors of skyscrapers and/or apartment complexes. Aren't malls consolidating space by cramming stores that otherwise would be littering some dirt road you wouldn't bother going to, anyways to save gas? US1 is a disaster in my opinion. All those one-story stores haphazardly on a main highway is horrendous. Southland Mall, The Falls, Dadeland Mall, Sunset Place are doing South Miami a favor. Malls are a sweet escape from driving "plaza to plaza" in search of clothes, household items, and entertainment. I could shop for all those things from behind my computer screen, but after working, communicating, and creating art behind the screen of my mac why would I?

Malls and advertisements aren't holding a gun to my head making me spend money that I don't have. People who are in debt are there due to their own vices. People can be responsible for their habits. I don't feel comfortable in having an agenda as a designer & artist. I wont aim to compel/persuade the unsuspecting audience with my opinion. I trust the public has the same ability as I do to come to their own informed decision wether I agree with them or not. Values don't come in one size fits all. In reality, you can't shun the world for having a different view of what utopia looks like.

Some are willing to drive to another county for a job, wasting nonrenewable fuel, polluting our ecosystem with co2 emissions, congesting our roads with road rage, oh yeah and wasting their time to make a buck. Good for them. Some are willing to ride their bikes everywhere, grow their own food, volunteer hours to their community. Good for them.

In my opinion, we need a balance of both types. Extremism towards one side would lead to the fall of individuality, the fall of progress, the fall of ingenuity and innovation.

Taylor Palmer said...

I hate malls. The idea of our society being forced to act as cattle and move in one general direction or speed, stopping off at each of our desired cattle guard gates for consumption is unnatural. But not only are you moving in one direction with a crowd, you have obstacles to dodge in the middle of the process; which brings me to my next point: kiosks. Who ever said it was a good idea to have individuals get paid to pinpoint and attack innocent bystanders who are simply trying to get from point A to point B? No thank you, I’ll pass on your Orgasmatron. Just entering a mall is dangerous if you have a bad sense of direction and have trouble returning to where you started from. The overall design is made specifically to keep you in there as long as possible and for you to buy more. If you start out with one main objective to reach, such as stopping in Macy’s for a gift and leaving upon retrieval, you better hope you left bread crumbs on your path so as not to stray or get completely consumed. The Malls-R-Us video touched on the idea that malls are sacred grounds for people to find fulfillment. However, you go to these malls to reach this sense of fulfillment and are forced to embrace a whole new set of wants and needs to be fulfilled and the design specifically caters to that.

scolbert said...

I agree with Ryan. We complain about all the injustice and wrong doing environmentally but it is up to us as designers to give people an alternative way of proceeding with their everyday activities. People are stuck in their habits and most are not willing to change so we have to adapt to the majority in orer for a change to come about. I commed designers taht have paved the way in teh green design industry and are encouraging all o us to use our heads and create meaningful products and services. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, I came across a brand new approach to sustainable design that shows anything is possible. This office interior, constructed entirely out of cardboard, is just one of those sustainable design marvels.

An Amsterdam designer, Joost van Bleiswijk, created a cardboard office interior for the local ad agency Nothing. The office is stylish and constructed from 1,500 pieces of interconnecting pieces of cardboard. Amazingly, the sustainable design uses no glue or nails to hold the cardboard together.

Take a look for yourself:
www.joostvanbleiswijk.com

Ashley said...

I watched the videos and like everyone else was disturbed. Our world has been slowly crumbling in all aspects of life for some time now. Right now green is trendy, I think that’s why so many people are really “running” with it but who cares at least effort is being made now to help our environment and help civilization for that matter. It’s our job as designers to create. It is also our job as people to better the world for future generation. In the 21st century I think we are bringing these two together more than ever before. I think when people really put their minds to it solutions for many of the problems can be solved with a few adjustments. I know that is A LOT easier said than done. I think there is a lot to be done and everyone just has to stop thinking someone else will do it.