Saturday, April 17, 2010

Your turn #11


What should we do with our trash? In the NYTimes.

But these next-generation incinerators, known as waste-to-energy plants, have not caught on in the United States, where most garbage is still hauled to distant landfills. What stands in the way of the U.S. adopting more of these advanced technologies?
____

The NYTimes article brings to mind the idea of technology. For example, technology as the arm driving design.

Is technology a tool or has it taken (sort of independently of any subject's overall direction) a 'life' of its own? 

Don't be naive: Technology has become something to react to, rather than direct -just try directing your latest word processing package outside its parameters, setting up a new television set without its pre-loaded instruction, or servicing your own brand new car. Such technologies have been designed with an embodied 'will' of their own that designs the users' and the technicians' relations to them.

For further reference, see Tony Fry's A New Design Philosophy: An Introduction to Defuturing (University of South Wells Press, 1999).

23 comments:

Jeffrey Stern said...

I saw the article regarding next-generation incinerators in the Times last week and was immediately drawn to what at first glance seemed an obvious solution the problem of garbage. But of course no issue of this scale has so simple a solution as pointed up by those with arguments against these incinerators. Technology is not always the quickest, smartest or most reliable answer. In my household we compost all of our non-meat food scraps, they go to the dog, recycle every scrap of paper that enters the home, from newspapers and junk mail to empty toilet paper rolls and all the glass, metal and plastic that the city allows. Admittedly there’s the first problem. There are some items they don’t recycle. Shouldn’t we start at the source and mandate that all packaging be made of recyclable, biodegradable and or post consumer recycled product. Further there should be regulations on how much packaging is allowed. How often have you ripped your way through layers of needless packaging to reach your product that barely weighs more than the packaging.
Technology is our tool. We use it to design creations for our use. If computers, TVs or cars were designed with a will lets see them turn themselves on and put themselves to work. They are tools designed for a very specific purpose and as such the user has to learn how to make the most of that tool. A hammer is designed for a very specific purpose. It requires some skill to drive a nail in straight and not smash your finger. A computer is a bit more complex technologically speaking and requires different skills that may take longer to master. But each is designed for a specific purpose for us to make use of. Don’t attempt to drive a nail with your laptop. That said technology can be adopted for other uses, perhaps using a computer to design a better more efficient hammer. The will is with the people. This brings us back to the problem of trash. How do we get people to find the will to sort, recycle and create less waste and convince industry to do the same.

Gloria A. Lastres said...

In our last class, I was intrigued by "Post Typography" beginning with their name. While descriptive of what they do, it seems rather generic. It reminds me of the suntan lotion I buy - No Ad - which is in & of itself advertisement, cleverly done in a no frills way. The graphic artists of Post Typography are quite talented & design on multiple levels. I especially liked their exhibit Alphabet: An Exhibition of Hand-Drawn Lettering & Experimental Typography. Where they could easily design graphic masterpieces on the computer, and have, they got together with other talented artists to contribute to these hand-on font creations. While some do continue to express themselves in hands-on mediums, others cannot remember the last time anything was created outside the computer box, so this is a valuable exercise. It is a retreat to times past when fonts were hand drawn of necessity. The resultant elegance of these hand-drawn fonts is difficult to replicate via technology.

I also appreciate that Post Typography crew seems fun loving. At times, I take life a bit too seriously so find myself easily gravitating to those who don't sacrifice excellence by taking themselves too seriously.

Lastly, I went on YouTube and listened to their post-punk band three-some "Double Dagger" comprised of drums, vocals & a bass guitar. Their vocalist is Nolen Strals & bassist Bruce Willen a.k.a the Post Typography graphic design team -- yet another outlet for their artistic creativity. I was around during the original punk era & feel that ,as with graphic artistry, they do the punk genre proud – Rock on...

-Gloria Lastres

nasha89 said...

The article you posted got me thinking a little off topic, but It made me think on the use of trash or recyclable objects as media for making art and design. It reminded me of Seigmeister’s work with the coffee cups, even though they went trash as well as his image of him sitting on a couch with empty containers, boxes, and cartons of food. He was basically turning garbage into design.

What popped into my head even before Seigmeister was something I have seen recently advertised in magazine, and billboards all over Miami. Red Bull’s “The Art of the Can” is something I have seen advertised over and over again. It took me a while to understand exactly what it was but when I figured it out I thought it was a fantastic idea! An art competition not only meant to inspire people to create new and dynamic art, but to do so using and everyday, usually wasted piece of trash. Talk about recycling! If we could turn every piece of recyclable material into a work of art or design what a beautiful and environmentally conscious world we would live in!

Nasha Wallin

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jeffrey's thinking: let's try to create less trash in the first place.

When I was a child in Los Angeles, everyone had an incinerator in their backyard and we burned all the trash down to ashes. Then the city's smog became famous, the incinerators were banned and the air quality improved (a little).

Simple habits like bringing your own re usable grocery bag, keeping a cup or bottle and cutlery with you can save a lot of waste. If households have to opportunity to compost they can turn trash into fertilizer.

Think of UM with no styrofoam cups, paper bags, paper plates and throw away utensils.

Less is less!

Grace

RAFAELLA Medeiros said...

ARH346
I was very impressed by Deanne Cheuk’s work, it is so creative like an explosion of many different artistic techniques, a mixture of illustration, design, art, collage, and she is an Australian woman! There are not so many famous woman artists throughout history, but I believe Cheuk will mark history, and her artwork will live for many years to come. Her works have an interesting mix of watercolor, oils, hand drawn letters and shapes with pen, and threads. I really love her style because it is so unique, very busy and colorful, her images are almost like the view of another world with the mixture of space, stars, flowers, plants, rainbows, mushrooms, people, all put into one with nice contrasts of colors. I can really relate to her work because I enjoy drawing and painting similar subjects, so her work really appealed to me. Cheuk’s magazine, Neomu, is probably one of her greatest accomplishments, it is one of a kind, with no words and only images, all profits goes to charities worldwide. Now that I know about Neomu and have seen Cheuk’s work, I will always look at it for inspiration and ideas.
Rafaella Medeiros

AlliHeathe said...

The article you posted about trash brought to mind the recent fashion trends that reuse trash. Between seeing the gigantic landfill in Long Island where I'm from, called Mt. Oceanside, and seeing trash scattered across the streets of NYC, it has become clear to me that the urban United States needs to find something better to do with it's trash. Recently, well known designs, also Target, have been reusing packaging in purses. I remember walking into Target over the summer to see an array of pencil cases using recycled cereal boxes, candy wrappers, etc. I can't remember exactly who, but one big designer had weaved bags with more recycled packaging. After going to the CGIU event on campus, I heard pharrell has a fashion clthing line along the same ideal. He uses recycled plastics to make threads for his clothing lines denim, along with other things. If only more company's followed in the footsteps of these industry standards, we might be able to reduce the immense waste we create each & every day.

Allison Brown, ARH346

cbfelder said...

I'm also of the opinion that the effort and resources should go to recycling more as opposed to incinerating our trash. Whats right for Europe and whats right for America can be two different things, and im not convinced that incinerating is a better alternative to landfills. Denmark relies on incinerators to the extent that they do because it is their most practical option. They simply do not have the land mass or capital for other methods to make economic sense. I'm also skeptical of its health consequences - no matter what the supporters of incineration say regarding its harmlessness, i cant imagine how breathing in burned garbage can NOT be bad for you. Short of recycling, i do not believe there is any clear winner when it comes to trash disposal methods.
Regarding the actual blog topic, i do believe that technology in general is approaching a level of complexity in which society reacts to it rather than utilize it as a tool. This complexity is all designed, however im not sure if its intentional, or just a side effect of the advanced capabilities our technology possesses.
A good example is the engineering of modern cars versus those of just 35-40 years ago. My first vehicle was of this era, and i can attest to the ease and straight forward approach to it's maintenance and repairs, many of which could be done in the front yard with a few simple tools. The consumer was in a position of greater control over his technology. Now, many of today's models require a visit to the dealer to not only diagnose the problem but reset the computer once the issue is fixed. These diagnosis tools are not the OCB scanners you can buy at autozone, but expensive machines usually available only at dealerships, rendering the consumer with less control over their technology.

silentmonk said...

I read the article on new trash to energy incinerator on my way to school, that are being adopted in europe to get rid of the garbage that has nowhere to go in the limited amount of space in europe which is unlike that of here in the united states that we have so much land that instead of actually trying to find new ways to cleanly get rid of our way we create landfill thinking that burying all our garbage make it go away, and just because the inhabitants og new york city dont see landfills surrounding the suburb they are sent to other states to become eyesores of other citizens. One of the persons interview from , the dept. of energy was questioned why hasnt the united states been looking into this technology as a way to move forward into a clean future, his reply was basically that the mentality of the american public to recycle would be become useless as citizen see that they no longer have to recycle. how many americans as a whole recycle the percentages as opposed to other european nations, why is it that the american public cant recycle and move forward with green technology.

obama talks about changing this country the way that it was at the forefront when getting rid cfc to stop the hole in the ozone. but it still seems that the united states is behind in producing. i believe the way to the future is through clean energy and smart innovation to move the world forward.there was an article about , hewlett packard R & Dept , and how they are working on new technology that would increase the flow of information but at the same time decrease the amount of heat(energy) it uses. only time will tell where technology will take us

pedroiscool said...

I agree. Most technology is made to box os into the parameters it sets up; you can only do things the way it wants you to.

Take the iphone. Notorious for being walled in in terms of what you get to do with it, how you lay it out and the freedom you have with it. Apple even controls your freedom of choice by letting you choose only from those applications it deems as appropriate for you.

Technology should help make our lives easier, and some does, like lawn mowers and washing machines, and the internet. But most technology isnt ergonomic, so sto speak.

In terms of the incinerators its because people would rather be comfortable than responsible. Most people are comfortable with thrash being hauled off to somewhere they've never even seen, while building an incinerator in their neighborhood, recycling, and being environmentally conscious takes work and responsibility.

Pedro R.

Ping said...

What should we do with our trash? Upgrading or adding incineration systems won’t do much to help the pollution problem that has already been caused by our trash. It doesn’t matter how advanced the technology becomes for incinerating trash — even modern incineration systems that manufacturers claim are equipped with so called “state-of-the-art” air pollution control devices to capture particulate and gaseous emission contaminate our environment because these “solutions” still generate a great amount of heat, and require oxygen for combustion. We are still harming the environment by releasing such large quantities of toxins into the environment. In many cases we are using “DESIGN” to cover up the existing problems and that is creating other issues on top of the original issues.

“DESIGN” plays a very important role with regard to our waste products, yet the more I learn about “DESIGN”, the more I realize the issues and problems that irresponsible “DESIGN” has created in our everyday lives. We have “DESIGNED” way more than we can consume. And, because of convenience and greed, we are focused on quantity instead of quality. There are not many companies/people currently taking “DESIGN” seriously.

“Good design should be innovative. Good design should make a product useful. Good design is aesthetic design. Good design will make a product understandable. Good design is honest. Good design is unobtrusive. Good design is long-lived. Good design is consistent in every detail. Good design is environmentally friendly. Last but not least, good design is as little design as possible,” said Dieter Rams, former design director, Braun, Kronberg, Germany (from the documentary Objectified).

We all must be honest and true to ourselves then help each other to save the environment by doing good "DESIGN".

Sau Ping Choi
ARH346

Julia Kristina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia Kristina said...

It is interesting the point that Steve Cohen brings up: "If we all had to manage our own garbage, maybe we’d figure out a way to make less of it." So very true. For example, if your parents give you money then you do not value it as much as if you were making it yourself. You definitely find ways to manage it better or only spend it on things you really want because you know how hard you worked to make it. Same with our garbage. When you have to worry about where it goes, you are much more hesitant to throw things away, or even use things that will eventually end up in the trash. When you know somebody else is taking care of something for you, you start to take it for granted.
The truth is that I am not the most environmentally friendly person in the world. I know that when my room is a mess I can count on throwing away a bunch of things that I will never have to deal with again. These things could be recycled or given away, but that is not the quickest solution so oftentimes I don't even think twice about those things. Obviously my approach is not the best, it is probably rather ignorant, but I think it represents how a lot of Americans deal with their trash. Whatever is quickest and easiest goes. I rarely see recycle options in public places. Around campus, maybe. But usually there is just a regular garbage can. So either the U.S. quickly adopts these new, supposedly clean garbage incinerators or we start being more mindful about how much we throw away, and learn to RECYCLE. Of course you can't force anyone to behave a certain way, some people are just never going to be that responsible for their trash, so the former seems like a more plausible option. If it is actually a clean approach since Ananda Lee Tan claimed in the article that they pollute the air. Though becoming green has become very trendy in America, sadly, there are many people who are too occupied with other things to put much importance into where their trash goes. So I really do not have an answer to this incredibly complicated question other than keeping with the "Go Green" campaign until the next generation fulfills this ideal.

Betsy said...

I liked having checking out some of the cartoonists. I think cartoon plays a really interesting roll in art that is often overlooked. I really liked Tom Gauld’s style, his simplified figures, and muted color scheme. I also really liked Andy Rementor’s work in some of the opposites of Gauld’s style, his detail and bright colors. I don’t know if anyone likes Les Claypool in this class; he is quite the spectacle, and I like funky sound. I also like that his passion was bass, and although uncommon as a lead instrument, he didn’t compromise. Anyway, the point is, y’all should check out Les Claypool’s music video for “One Better”.

On a different note, I love Deanna Cheuk’s illustrations. I especially appreciate how seemingly effortlessly she mixes mediums. Any pieces where she combines very saturated watercolor washes (which one rarely sees done well, not overdone) with pen and ink figure and line work. It’s interesting to see how by combining two applications (wash and contour line) that typically create a flat space and figure, she manages to create a space with plenty of depth.

Thanks, Elizabeth Rice

dmb said...

I think technology adds to the problem these days with people thinking everything should be made easy, handed to them on a silver platter. There's no challenge anymore, kids give up the second they can't do things. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but I think it can totally inhibit creativity. It is a tool, not something that solely does things for us. It makes certain things easier, but it also doesn't let us find alternative solutions to certain problems. Take graphic design -- if you jump right to designing on the computer, you forget about all the other possibilities -- like how to use photographs or 3D objects to achieve that same sense of aesthetic and problem solving. We need to embrace technology, but also know that there is life outside the easy, quick-fix solutions.

-dayna m. bieber

lauren dresbach said...

Just like technology, landfills and garbage have started to control what we do, instead of us choosing what to do with our trash.

Technology and the article about landfills are closely related because the amount of trash that we generate has increased as we become more technologically advanced. And how we dispose of this trash, whether its by burning it or continuing to bury it, at the end of the day, we still have to deal with the byproducts of our lives, our use of technology.

I agree with Dayna in the way that whenever we are faced with something to create a solution for we automatically go straight to the computer. We think that somehow the computer is the easiest way to create a solution. The computer has become a quick easy fix for everything especially in graphic design. There are so many other ways of coming up with creative and unique solutions.

ps - I LOVED LOVED LOVED the designers you showed us in our last class. Deanne Cheuk was definitely my favorite. I loved her 60s feeling in illustration and how she mixes that with fashion vocabulary.

- Lauren Dresbach

Sarah said...

I think we need to Recycle, Recycle, Recycle! Americans throw EVERTHING away. I have sat at school and watched students throw a soda bottle in the trash can, when the Recycle bin is clearly labeled, right next to it, yet they don’t take the time to think about where they should deposit the bottle. They don’t take an extra moment to think this is a recyclable product, that me throw it in the proper receptacle bin. They do not take the time to think about the effects that extra soda bottle will have on the environment.

I agree with Lauren “technology, landfills and garbage have controlled what we do.” We want everything right away…our sodas in a can, our McDonalds in a handy little paper bag given to us in 5 minutes or less. With every McDonalds drive-through bag, there are individually wrapped products inside of that bag. Our hamburger in one container our fries in another; everything all wrapped up in deposited into a paper bag. We create so much added waste, with processes similar to this. We need to learn how to be better recyclers, and conservers of energy. We need to start using our creative minds to enhance technology in ways that will aid our planet, not continuously harm it. We need to think before we toss a plastic bottle into the trashcan, rather than the Recycle bin. If every person makes the extra effort to disburse trash properly, we can reduce dumps like the one in New York.

I think as artists, we can create a platform for a society that will think more about “Going Green.” We can use our art to create a message to remember to Recycle and be friendly to our environment. Technology has definitely become a “life of its own,” as artists we need to learn how to tame the beast …in other words tame technology to reduce our waste, rather than increase it.

Sarah Gruhn
ARH 346

Lisa said...

Right now there is no one right way to dispose of and treat our waste. Who knows if there ever will be one correct way to do so (due to the differing resources and needs of many different nations)? But I think we can all come to an agreement when we consider that the best way to deal with waste is to not have to deal with waste at all – basically saying that preventing waste is better than having to handle any waste.

However, we DO put out waste, and design is key in handling whatever waste we put out. A recent example of a failed design – costing billions of dollars over about 20 years of work and planning – can be seen in the news of Yucca Mountain being dropped as a long-term storage facility for nuclear waste. Now local storage facilities, which weren’t designed for the long-term storage they will now have to face, need to design ways of dealing with the extra nuclear waste that they weren’t originally designed to deal with. One such storage facility is nearby at Turkey Point. A lot of environmental disagreement led to the rejection of Yucca Mountain as the long-term waste storage facility for all the nuclear waste in the U.S., and now something needs to be done about the state of the temporary nuclear waste facilities.

Design plays a huge part in problems like this, in which environmental viewpoints conflict with one another. Even a good design can run into problems, because there are conflicting designs that can block the path. Right now, local plants need to address their waste storage problems with good, effective design, while the bigger issue of the long-term storage facility is addressed.

Lisa Joseph, ARH346

jorell said...

Technology is a tool that promises us that which we value most, time. We buy into the promise, and the technology delivers. But we get greedy and want to spend the time saved on doing more work because we believe that it will bring us more money. But money has no value but as a physical manifestation of time.

I want to thank you for recommending I visit MOMA during my trip to NYC. I was amazed. I recommend everyone go if they have not been there before. I was amazed by the amount of art I recognized because of this class. Being in front of well know masterpieces is a humbling experience. I felt honored to be in their presence.

Rachel said...

Technology a tool ? has it taken a life of its own?
This reminds me of an older South Park episode where technology clearly has taken a life of its own. In this episode of the main characters acquires a trapper keeper folder that is technologically savvy. In the end the folder takes over and begins controlling itself, growing larger and larger, eventually turning into Rosie O’Donnell, but that’s beside the point. The folder resembles the electronics that have come out in recent years, and have made a great presence in our society. Slowly I feel that these devices are going to take away from natural communication and will eventually screw us over, as seen in many movies like Wall E.
I would like to bring up the opinion that the development in technology has inhibited creativity. Maybe inhibiting creativity is not the point, but what I mean is that it has become a lot easier for people to create things using programs like photoshop, or using advanced cameras etc. As a photographer, I have observed that more and more people are purchasing nice cameras and are making pictures. Not to say that me and few others should be the only people taking pictures, because that is defiantly not how I feel, but it scares me to see so many people getting into technology. I think a good balance is need, especially in the world of art.

Kendra said...

I recently watched the movie No Impact Man. It was mentioned in a class a while ago, and I think Colin Beavan is headed in the right direction. During the movie, he takes himself and family on a journey to figure out the best way to create the least possible impact on the Earth. The interesting part about this is that his wife is a major consumer, coffee and shop-a-holic and the family lives in New York City, arguably one of the most polluted, crowded, and consumer-driven cities in America. Though Beavan goes through major extremes to accomplish his experiment of less impact, his final conclusion is important: if the individual takes it upon his or her self to create less waste, re-use, recycle, eat locally, ride public transport or bikes, and so on, then a great deal of good can be done to prolong the livability of the planet. Beavan's blog and website even outlines very simple and even healthful ways to help out:

http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2009/02/how-to-skip-the-work-travel-have-a-more-leisurely-life-and-save-the-planet.html


Kendra
ARH346

AlexBroadwell said...

Technology is a tool that has taken on kind of an ever-expanding 'life' of its own. I think the 'life' of technology derives from its own shortcomings. When a technology cannot do something that a person wants it to do, a group of people work on improving the tool to include this function. The next wave sucks more people in, and people become increasingly dependent on it. Nevertheless, this possible overdependent nature of humans still comes back to our using technology as a tool. An extremely necessary and helpful tool, but still a tool. Things like design undoubtedly would not be the same if not for advances in technology, but said advancements were ultimately made by the knowledge and desires of humans, not by the technology itself.

-Alex

Juliana said...

Great point about bringing up trash and more trash! As much as technology is growing faster every day, trash is still a huge issue. To begin I feel like this should be a greatly enforced subject in school. Kids need to be taught at an early age. The truth is that what ever the young generation learns is what the older generation will do. Take technology for example, this is the first generation that is fully living in the digital world. Younger kids are getting cell phone and probably know a whole lot more about them then their parents. Kids are also becoming more computer skilled and more knowledgeable than their parents, most even teaching their parents. If schools can take the time to teach kids about computers and other high-end technology that they can certainly teach them the habit of recycling at an early age. Actually, just the other day my little brother told my mom to buy a recycling trash can because he wants his family to start recycling. This actually made me think that schools might already be aware of how important it is to teach this to their students.
I also want to comment on the amazing graphic designers shown last class. I have studied previously a bit of Deanne Cheuk's work and think she is extremely talented. She is extremely skilled at incorporating type, illustration and graphics. Love her work!
Juliana

Luly said...

Reading the article you posted about recycling waste, I must say that I have to agree with it. Regardless if it's recycled into fashion or energy, its being recycled and not piling up in landfills. However, I do not agree with incinerating waste because the smog pollutes the air. I recently did a project for my 3D design class using recycled cardboard and I used it to make a complete DJ system. My final for the class will also be out of recycled cardboard, I will be making a life-size drum set. Using recycled items for art is unique and it gives my work a completely new feel and after all, one mans trash is another mans treasure.