Friday, 31 October 2008

Ethical Pests

Blood, Sweat and T-shirts update

Be an ethical pest

Brand Me/Weekly image (6)

This week I have been really thinking about myself as a brand, what my values and style is, how I can be benificial to others, what my mission for this year is and my vision for the future.


This is for my Brand Me presentation that was set by Tom Inns. I am finding this to be a very useful exercise as it is really making me consider all aspects of myself including personality.

I sent out a survey to some of my friends and family to get their responses on who they believe I am as a person. This helped me identified key factors in my personality that I don't see, which was useful in compiling the benefit section of my brand. (below is an example of a reply)


How beneficial is Jo to herself and others?

Jo is more beneficial to others as she puts other people first.

How does she relate to other people and what mak
es her attractive enough for other people to want to relate to her?

She is caring and trustworthy, and doesn’t like letting people down.

How does she give insights to other people and inspire them
and help them transform?

She can sympathise and encourage
people by talking about past experiences of her own.

How does she contribute to everybody's welfare and to public development?
She is always available to talk to and will go out of her way to help
people.



Slide 7
(I am going to use my Brand Me mind map(above) for my weekly image this week as sums up what I have been doing and thinking about)

In researching this project I have read the books Tom suggested Managing Brand Me by Tomas Gad and Anette Rosencreutz and The New Guide to Identity by Wolf Olins. Gad and Rosencreutz make some interesting points like that we need to figure out who we are and what we stand for to make the world a better place, if we have our own missions we will not be swayed by other peoples influences. Apart from the Brand Me code which helped me to outline the the areas I should be focusing on, the main points I took from this book which will hopefully help me in realising and fulfilling my mission/vision are

'All perceptions are filtered through our personally programmed subconscious filters. Thus everything we see, hear, feel and smell etc is our version of reality.' (Gad and Rosencreutz, 2002, p15)

and

'to accept the state of chaos and feel comfortable with it.' (Gad and Rosencreutz, 2002, p9)

The above one is especially important for me as I have been thinking about possible obstacles and flaws within myself and so in my brand. This is the Hindrance branch on my Brand Me mind map.


I think that my hindeances could be problamatic when trying to convey myself as a brand as I can be very quiet and retract into my own wee world for various reasons but it has been sain that "its not who you are underneath, its what you do that defines you" Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins 2005



Thursday, 30 October 2008

Blood, Sweat and T-Shirts

Here is a clip from the BBC3 documentary series Blood, Sweat and T-shirts.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/video/index.shtml?video=bst-tara

Really highlights the living/working conditions of the people who are making our fast fashions.

Buy Handmade :)


Buy Handmade Video from Etsy on Vimeo.

I can make a difference

Well done to Macallan Durkin who is only 13 years old but is making a difference by selling her t-shirts and donating all the money made to less fortunate children in Africa, in particlar Botswana where she lived for nearly three years. Her Website Goody Goodies gives more information on Macallan and how she is making a difference:)

In My Name

White Band Action








Garments Without Guilt

Garments Without Guilt is a Sri Lanka apparel company who say

'We make garments with conscience and care. By protecting worker's rights, creating opportunities for education and personal growth, and helping to alleviate poverty in our communities, Sri Lanka Apparel does business with integrity and helps create a more equitable society.'




They have lots of inspirational stories and other information on their blog on how they are making a difference.

Check out their blog:)

Who is the ethical consumer?

I was on Labour Behind the Label's blog and came across an entry entitled 'Who is the ethical consumer?' It makes some very interesting points like...

'ethics is not an optional extra, an either/or: it’s a minimum standard, based on human rights. “I’m not wearing this, it’s real fur,” “I don’t shop at Next because their trousers make me look like a hippo,” “I can’t buy those pants, they were made in exploitative conditions.” That’s the kind of category that ethical decision-making belongs in.'

I agree we should have this mindset to how and who we buy products from but companies are aware of our realisation that we as a society are not happy with the ethical or non-ethical implications that come with buying their products so are jumping on the ethical bandwagon and having fair trade lines or concessions within their stores which LBL feels eases the pressure on them and doesn't actually address the real problem as their systems for, manufacturing and shipping goods throughout the whole supply chain doesn't change. And why would they bother when...

' you can please the same consumers by stocking a few organic, fair trade cotton lines or a concession from People Tree, which does nothing for your existing factory base?'

Instead they feel and I have to agree that

'the ‘ethical consumer’ needs to be everybody, and needs to want nothing less than across-the-board respect for workers’ rights.'

They also raise the point tho that an item can carry a fair trade or organic label but still isn't actually an ethical piece of clothing.

'It may be made from organic cotton, but in a factory where trade union rights are suppressed; it could be hand-stitched by a Fair trade women’s cooperative in Nepal, but then flown or shipped to the UK at significant cost to the environment.'

So I guess that 'to say a product – or a consumer – is ‘ethical’ is to oversimplify.'


Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Scottish Institute for Enterprise

Last night after my weekly people and planet meeting, a representative from the Scottish Institute for Enterprise came and talked to us about possibly taking part in their 'We Challenge You' innovation tournament. The aim is 'to create as much value as possible from a common, everyday object'.



The object wont be known until Thursday the 13th of November and then you will have four days in which to create a video documentation of your idea. The value of which said object is measured is up to the teams. The finished videos will be posted on youtube for the whole world to view. Even if you don't win its a good way to get your idea out there:)



Above last years winner the Do Band. The idea is to put it on with a promise and don't take it off until you've fulfilled your promise, then pass it on and the process starts again:) Similar to the idea behind Pay It Forward 2000 film starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment. One of my all time favorite films which proves little things can make a difference and change the world:)



The task (inspirational speech by Spacey's character)



The result (what Trevor played by Osment's character achieves with his project)

Ewgeco Part 2

I went and met Tanya Ewing today at Scottish Enterprise where she is doing a course. At lunch she gave a presentation about the Ewgeco energy monitor and a demonstration of how it works.

I still think this is a fantastic device and am going to contact Tanya an her team to see if it will be possible for me to do some research for them :)

Oxfam Whats Your Ethical Rhythm



Love this Cartoon from Oxfam, such a good and concise representation of today's society and what will happen if we keep over consuming in such a frantic manner. Highlights the fact that we need to reduce, reuse and recycle:)

Big Ideas That Changed The World - Consumerism







The Concious Consumer



Film giving a selection of the general public views on fair trade, fair trade products and where to buy fair trade.

Slow Fashion



Interesting video about peoples relationships with their clothes...:)

Is there a possibility for the masses to connect with their clothes and belongings on a large scale so we can move away from our 'throw-away' culture...?

Inside Fair Trade Fashion, a day in the life of People Tree :)



People Tree's mission

* To support producer partners' efforts towards economic independence and control over their environment and to challenge the power structures that undermine their rights to a livelihood.
* To protect the environment and use natural resources sustainably throughout our trading and to promote environmentally responsible lifestyles and environmental initiatives to create new models to promote sustainability.
* To supply customers with good quality products, with friendly and efficient service and build awareness to empower consumers and producers to participate in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable solutions.
* To provide a supportive environment to all stakeholders and promote dialogue and understanding between them.
* To set an example to business and the government of a Fair Trade model of business based on partnership, people-centred values and sustainability.

Fair Trade by People Tree



A video on Fair Trade by People Tree :)

How Ethical is Your Wardrobe?

The Story of Stuff













Tuesday, 28 October 2008

My Desk...

Its five weeks into the course and this s how my desk is looking...

DO Lectures

For other Lectures on the Do something series (4th-8th September 08) see http://www.dolectures.co.uk/

These lectures and more interesting subject matter can be found on Howies website:)

Alastair McIntosh Author of ‘Soil and Soul’

Part of the DO Lctures by Howies

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Weekly image (5)


My image from week 5. This image sums up my week as I have been concentrating on my methods.

The Flower


The Flower (above) is the symbol of the European Eco-label Hompage. 'your guide to greener products and services'. The European Eco-label is part of a bigger picture trying to endorse and encourage sustainable consumption and production:)

This symbol was created to be easily recognised by consumers and is hoping to promote the use of environmentally friendly products and services into the marketplace through this voluntary scheme.

The Green Dot


The Green Dot (above) which is seen on many packaging around the world isn't actually a sign for recycling, it is actually a trademark which shows that the company producing said packaging are contributing towards the recycling of packaging. The packaging this appears on however is not always recyclable itself.
The Green Dot is not used in the UK but packaging can be sold here carrying this symbol as long as long as the companies producing this packaging are paying a licence fee through Valpack Ltd as the Green Dot is still a trademark.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

The Story of My Chocolate bar...




Whilst shopping at an Oxfam bookstore yesterday as well as picking up some interesting books(see pic below) I also treated myself to a chocolate bar:) not only was it scrumptious but it was also fairtrade. This according to the fairtrade logo it 'Guarantees a better deal for Third World Producers'.



My Divine milk chocolate has the tag line 'Heavenly Chocolate with a Heart'. I wanted to find out if it lived up to its name, it certainly passed the taste test.


I started reading other information on the label and found out that it was produced in Germany using Ghanaian cocoa. Under the ingredients listed the sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vanilla were all certified to international Fairtrade standards. These ingredients make up 76% of the product, i can only assume the other 24% of ingredients, dried cream,whole milk powder, emulsifier: soya lecithin (which was stated as non GM) are not. Curiously over 4/5ths of the remaining 24% of non-organic ingredients are dairy produce(derived from milk). Why are these ingredients not certified Fairtrade?

The interior of the wrapper states that the design on the outer label are 'traditional West African Adinkra symbols, often used on hand-made crafts, and each with its own special meaning'.

This symbol (below) which is found on the outer wrapper and also explained on the inner is 'Funtunfunefudenkyemfunefu' which means 'Democracy and Unity in Diversity'.


The inner wrapper also gives a brief history of the cocoa farmers of Equatorial Guinea as well as the problems they face and how and for what reasons Divine chocolate was created with investments from The Body Shop and Twin Trading and the support of Christain Aid and Comic Relief.

'The success of Devine means that farmers have a secure source of Fairtrade income, which continues to grow as more and more chocolate lovers choose it as their treat. As Kupa Kokoo also owns a significant percentage of the company, they can share in the profits too. Members decide how the money is invested in their communities and each year more villages can sink their own drinking water wells, build schools, or benefit from health care schemes. Ownership of devine and the Fairtrade deal has also enabled farmers to plan for their future, send their children to school, learn new skills, and improve their farms. The exciting news in 2006 was that the Body Shop decided to donate all their shares in Devine to Kupa Kokoo - so now those benefits of ownership are even greater'.

Good on the Body Shop:)

I think that it is so nice to actually get the story behind where something has come from for once. We are forever consuming without the knowledge of where the items are made, who are making them, the history behind them or how they get to us.

Other related sites Dubble and Twin.

Critical Design part 2

Graham Pullin set us a challenge in Critical Design. We had to come up with an idea of how to highlight the point of generic disabled signage. All disabled people are not all men in wheelchairs as is portrayed in signs used globally for all sorts of things from parking to toilets. How can we raise this issue and get people to think about other possible signage solutions. Below are four examples of disabled parking signs.


We were in groups of two or three and were only given 10-15 minutes to consider this.
Kate and I came up with the idea of putting able bodied signage everywhere, this would generalise everyone else and segregate them. It would be an opportunity to pigeon whole the able bodied for a change and would hopefully raise awareness and start a discussion about the generic signage used at the moment. People like to be seen as individuals with separate needs and personalities. Disabled people are no different to able bodied people in this respect.
This idea wouldn't be for us to re-design the icon on the signage as this would be a tough feat, other groups in the class suggested holographic signage that would morph into different logos as you moved around it. We were simply trying to come up with an idea for a piece of Critical Design, that would be thought provoking and strike up some conversations.

I found these two signs after considering this topic further. They are not exactly Critical Design but hopefully make people think.



Critical Design

On Monday afternoon we were introduced to Critical Design by Graham Pullin. He gave us a good insight into what Critical Design is and how we might use it as a tool thoroughout our MDes and beyond. Graham states that Critical Design is 'not blue sky thinking' it is less optimistic and often uses black humour. It is a vessel to engage an audience with a problem by connecting them to an object. It in itself is not trying to solve a problem just highlight the fact that one exists. Critical Design I feel is a tool to make us think and question why we are doing something, it removes our blinkers and opens our eyes to problems that may exist but that we never consider.

Graham talked about Dunne and Raby, Dunne who pioneered the term Critical Design now runs the Design Interaction course at the RCA (Royal College of Art) in London along with his partner Raby use Critical Design frequently in their work.

'Dunne & Raby use products and services as a medium to stimulate discussion and debate amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of emerging technologies.'
(Dunne & Raby on themselves)


Above is what Dunne and Raby call their 'Electro-draught Excluder' this screen proves no protection from any sorts of radiation but living with it causes the subject to be more aware of the fact that we are surrounded by all sorts of radiation thanks to mobile phone transmitters, wi-fi, TVs etc and that we feel safer if we are given a 'placebo' that makes no difference in what we are absorbing whatsoever.


Another one of Dunne & Raby's projects that Graham Talked about was their Science Museum 2004 work which was a series of three images showing at first glance an idyllic future. I fine these images to be chilling, more so because they could actually become a reality... The main image shows two children in a room full of cadges, pets one might assume at first glance, but then you notice the child at the back of the room feeding one of the mice into the television set... will this be our answer to the energy crisis?


Two images accompany this photograph


The one on the left is a possible solution to the energy crisis. Bags of blood that we can use for power, be it animals or human. According to Dunne & Raby 'A meet-eating robot has been developed by the University of South Florida. Microbial fuel cells contain living bacteria which break down food and convert the nutrients into electrical energy'.

How would society cope with this animals as fuel conundrum? A beautifully presented mock up book right gives a possible insight into what we could face if this technology took off. The Tag line reads 'Avoiding emotional attachment to animals purchased for use as energy'.


I guess it just goes to show as Graham said 'their is always a flip side to a new technology'

How would society cope with this shift in energy use, what are the social and physical implications to this type of fuel? I must admit i find Critical Design fascinating and will be following Dunne & Raby (http://www.dunneandraby.co.uk/) and the Design Interactions Course at the RCA (http://www.interaction.rca.ac.uk/).

For more information on Critical Design check out Dunne & Raby's book Design Noir and Crispin Jones a designer who commercialises Critical Design(http://www.mr-jones.org/)

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

David Townson Live/Work Move Me

David came to the master of design studio on Friday afternoon to talk in more depth with us about his time spent on the Live/Work Move Me campaign which was part of the Dott Festival 07. They were trying to set up a lift share campaign. This as a small part of the bigger festival working to show how design can make a positive change in peoples lives. David spoke of different methods that his team used to generate the information needed for their project to succeed ie. research probes, surveys and also to exploit the existing infrastructures. It is good to no that when you are undertaking a project like this one there are tools you can use to infiltrate yourself into a community in a non-threatening way and that you can draw on past experiences and services that are already i place for a starting point and for guidance.

After David's talk we were set a brief task of creating a service blueprint ...

He split us into groups and gave us a list of words and my group chose 'clean air' we then had to imagine what service might clean air enable?


My group thought it would be a good idea that the service should mean that you were part of a physical community in the form of a park. Members would all be shareholders in this park which would enable them to breathe 'clean air' whilst maintaining a public space and being involved in a community. We had to consider differnt touch points in the service ie. how the service would be advertised, how they sign up, how they take part and how they leave as well as the reasonings behind why they would want to take part in the service ie. health benifits, family time, social aspects, provides a hobby etc.





























We thought it would be a good idea to encourage the person leaving the service (for re-loating purposes) to 'pass it on' like Jamie Oliver's strategy to ensure the service would sustain itself and even grow.

David Townson: Bowler Hat with Sleeves and beyond

On Friday we had a very inspirational lecture by David Townson. He talked about service design, design for people to make their lives better, easier or more comfortable, but that this should not be in detriment to other peoples lives. Need to consider the whole chain of design and how we can socially make things better for people. He talked about his experiences and what his idea of design is, he agrees with Charles Hume and feels design should be 'selfless' and that it has to 'benefit others'. He also gave us a good insight into how to find work, build contacts and help others by putting them in touch with people that suit their field.

His tag line 'Bowler Hat with Sleeves' was taken from one of Billy Connolly's comedy sketches in where he makes the point, why over complicate things and design things just because we have the notion to that serves no functional purpose in the slightest like a bowler hat with sleeves.



The purpose and end result has to be taken into account when designing everything, from use and beyond especially as we are trying to enter into a more sustainable way of living. So as designers we need to define the problem, our solution to this said problem must in some way make things socially better for people while still giving them what they desire, be profitable, as companies cant produce things that don't generate money while trying to be ethical at the same time. This seems like a big challenge but it is the design philosophy I want to work on throughout my masters and beyond.

More printing at DCA :)

Developing on the idea from my first batch of printing at the DCA in the style of Sister Corita and encompassing my weekly image from week 4 I combined these to come up with some prints about my mindset and how I am feeling four weeks into the course. They area little dark and sinister with a girl crouched as if in a box, with the tag line 'We're not in Wonderland anymore Alice' which shows that I am breaking out of the constraints of my past mindset while growing, learning and using all of my experience and knowledge from the past and conjoining it with all of the new things I'm learning. It is an apprehensive, uncomfortable yet exciting time.

Life Drawing

I went to my first life drawing class in over four years last Thursday evening. I find it useful as it really helps with my concentration and can be really relaxing.


I am really slow as my sketches show, like to get the angles right, I'm a bit of a perfectionist which sometimes can hinder my practice. Need to loosen up and which will make me more susceptible to new practices and methods. This idea links back to the series of lectures we have been getting and my mindset of how I undertake a task is altering as I am understanding myself and my process's more.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Swapshop Parties

I found this video on the bbc thread fashion without victum website.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/video/index.shtml?video=glad-rags


Such a good idea:)

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Design Led Product & Service Innovation

For my Wednesday classes with Tom Inns we have had weekly tasks to undertake.

Week 1 was an exercise on mindfulness, it was to help us understand where we had been successful or unsuccessful on past projects and the reasons behind this so we could hopefully learn from our experiences in the future.

I thought this was a really good idea as I had never really given any of my past projects much thought, they were just forgotten after they were finished, being mindful of past experiences can really help us to understand our processes and why we may fail or succeed at certain tasks.


Week 2 we had to think about our Strategy. This was to give us an understanding of how to map out our own careers using strategic planning principles and also how corporate planning terminology is used.

I found this exercise really helpful as it made me break down what I think my career plans might be and consider the steps I would need to take to achieve my end goal. From knowledge I would need to contacts I would have to make.

Week 3 we had to think about our Design Process and how this might look. This was to get us thinking about the different steps we take from idea to final product and beyond.


I found this exercise extremely useful as I had never thought about my design process before as following a set of rules or guidelines. We all follow processes though and this was a good way of being able to visualise my own process. I hadn't realised before that I followed so many steps as it is just an instinctive thing.


Our next task is to Brand ourselves, we have to do a 3 minute presentation about ourselves as a brand. I am nervous to say the least although I do think that I will learn a lot about who I am as a person, what motivates me and what my values and mindset is. While the presentation itself may be painful the process will be valuable.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Garbage Warrior






























I watched a programme on more4 last night entitled Garbage Warrior a film by Oliver Hodge. Michael Reynolds an American architect and his team build sustainable houses made of rubbish. They are completely self sufficient from heating to sewage systems. I think this is such a clever way of using waste materials we are dumping into landfill sites in a productive way:) Not only are they using this 'junk' to build the accommodation or Earth Ships as they call them but once they are built you have no outgoings on bills, which is good for your bank balance and also good for the environment as no non-renewable energy sources are needed. They also grow their own vegetables and have a few livestock so are completely free.


Reynolds says that his community is 'a method of living that allowes people to look after themselves.'



http://www.sustainablebuild.co.uk/a-sustainable-architect-casestudy-michael-reynolds.html

Check out the above link for more info on Michael Reynolds and the Earth Ships:)


Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Minna - Estethica - Lonon Fashion Week 08

Minna was one of the companies showcasing at Estethica inLondon Fashion week this fall. They use Scottish lace and organic fair trade cotton to make stunning garments. Even the remenants are utalised to make trimmings and accessories.



see http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/gallery/2008/sep/17/londonfashionweek.catwalk?picture=337714111 for more information on Estethica

and http://www.minna.co.uk/ for more information on Minna and Maguy's label.

Innovation Showase


This looks like it will be an interesting day full of info for anyone wanting to start up a buisness after the masters:)

'The Innovation Showcase is an essential event for any business wishing to increase their business competitiveness through innovation. As well as presenations from leading figures in the world of business the event will showcase cutting edge technology and expertise from the University of Dundee, University of Abertay Dundee and the Scottish Crop Research Institute.'


For more information see http://www.innovationportal.co.uk/events/events/2008/11/18/170.html

Ewgeco

Tanya Ewing has created a meter that displays your energy outputs on a display pannel. This ingenious device can not only help save you money but can help the environment to by reducing the amount of power we are using. Many of us including myself just dont realise the amount of gas, electricity and water we are wasting every day. This easy to read and use monitoring device seems like a perfect solution.

Tanya says "people do not realise just saving 1p an hour can save you over £87 a year - a small change can make a big difference."



This year they have won the Observers Ethical Award:)



Check out their website for more info on the Ewgeco

Monday, 13 October 2008

Illustrations














This one by Natalie Dee (Above) http://www.nataliedee.com illustrates the problematic nature of 'fast (disposable) fashion'. It makes a good point and highlights the danger of throwaway fahions by likeing it to such a major issue as terrorism it shows just how serious it is.























This one (Above) by CartoonChurch .com highlights the issues of wasting energy and resourses, while pointing out we need to be senscible with our actions, and the fact that it is all very well to want to live ethically but putting this theory into practice can be problematic.

http://cartoonchurch.com/



















Above is another illustration from http://www.nataliedee.com
We are running out of un-renewable resouses at a fast pace, we cannot simply make more...






Green is the NEW Black

Found this Video on the Telegraph.co.uk intitled Green is the new Black:)




Check out this link also... http://www.bbc.co.uk/thread/video/index.shtml?video=make-a-difference

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Paintings



I am enjoying all the reading and research I have been doing of late but I do miss making things. I will need to get back into the print room or convert my garden shed!!:)




So painting canvases of some of my friends have helped to quench my need...




Printing at DCA

I was able to do some screen printing yesterday at the DCA in the style of Sister Corita a Roman Catholic Nun from the 1960's. Below is one of her iconic images.







My Images are not political or particularly revolutional, they were based on Alice in Wonderland. It was nice to get my hands dirty and to learn a new way of printing:)


Here is one of my efforts...








Photo of the week...

We have been set the task of documenting our year of Masters studdies by means of a weekly image. Something that somes up our week...


Here is my image from week two...



A big pile of books, I had been doing lots of reading trying to narrow down my focus and come up with a final research question.




My Image from week three a photo of my wall. It is starting to fill up with images and useful articles and other ideas that I have found through my research.


Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Innocent seling out...

Innocent has been getting a lot a stick recently for 'selling out' they are trialing some of their smoothies in McDonalds, while I dont like McDonalds or eat there many people do, they have a lot of power and sway on what people consume as I have said in my McDonaldization entry. It is a tricky situation but then I think this ethical living thing is tough, baby steps, we cant change the world or how peopl think and shop overnight. I dont view Innocent as selling out Id like to think that they have the ability to make a positive change from the inside out. Mabe their ideals and ethical commitments will rub off on McDonalds...




Richard Reed one of Innoents founders admitted that the McDonald's trial was clearly a business decision but insisted the company would not alter the way it produced its smoothies or any of its other ethical commitments, saying "our principles aren't for sale, but our smoothies are."

I hope so anyway, I like what the Innocent guys are all about and drink their smoothies frequently, they have a positive message... or mabe they just have a clever brand. They sure do taste good though.

People & Planet


I went to my first people and planet meeting last night to see what they were all about and how they are trying to make a difference.

Their agenda this year is to 'Target Topshop' they want Topshop and the company Arcadia that houses them and some of the other large highstreet retailers like Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans etc to join the Ethical Trading Initiative. See their website for more details and actions.

http://peopleandplanet.org/redressfashion/highstreet

While I am not sure that I agree with their gorrilla warfare tactics as this often can have a negative effect I am going to help them with a fashion show/swapshop/charityshop/customising event they are going to be holding in the union in mid november... watch this space... I feel that trying to re-educate ourselves on the way we consume and trying to do this in a more ethical way can only have a positive effect.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Deviants

This afternoon we had a lecture by Louise Valentine, she talked to us about the deviant exhibition.

Task...

We had to visually evaluate the artworks displayed in the exhibition. To choose one piece and critique it.

I chose Freddie Robins Hand of Good, Hand of God piece.







I noted...

at First Glance I thought this was a comical piece that served no purpose, as it is a functional everyday object that has had the function removed due to mutation. I didn’t view it as an object of great beauty, and the colouring is grey/blue, which is often linked to signs of depression or sadness.


So...


Why was it created and what was it trying to tell us, is there a hidden message? How was it made? It is knitted and technically accurate although it doesn’t appear to be anatomically correct.

After reading Robin’s history and what she was trying to convey my initial reaction was changed. She presents her theory’s in a playful way, but to me it is about how you intemperate the world and the things you see. The relationships between conventional and unconventional.
The glove is a very conventional object that is a given and a certainty-it has a clear function and always can fit into its neat little box of why it exists.
Robins offsets this given by making it into something uncertain and questionable.

Should we question everything, even the things in our life’s we deem as certain. Can anything ever be certain, is there a right and a wrong or just different perspectives and views.


What it says to me...


Question everything, nothings a given. Always try to find a meaning and purpose. Look at objects and situations from different angles. Don’t always go on first impressions and snap judgements.

Discussions are valuable to gain different perspectives, can use or adapt these ideas and theories along with my own to get a better overview and outcome.

Also...


Would we view the object differently if it weren’t behind glass, would our experience and relationship to it change if we could actually touch it. It is a tactile everyday object that is normally worn, enveloping a form which animates it. But here it is left empty and flat. In its static state it appears sinister and strange like an abnormality of nature that has been put in a jar to be analysed... a 'freak of nature.'


Ultimately I think I was drawn to this object above the others in the exhibition because I identify with it, it is tactile and to me it didn’t seem cold like the other objects. I like the initial humour I felt upon seeing it and the wonder that followed.


Wicked Problems & Sticky Toffee Pudding/ Research Methods

Today we had a series of lectures by Professor Seaton Baxter and Emma Murphy all about research methods and methodologies.

Seaton outlined the importance of establishing your problem within your chosen subject matter as a base to work from. We need to work though our 'domain of obstacles' from our 'given state' to our 'goal state'. In essence through our research try and find a solution to our problem. He gave us some interesting insight on how to go about this. The idea that looking at one thing leads to something else and something else, its like pandoras box, you cant just stick your hand in and retreive one question or answer without this leading to 3 more... I guess he was just trying to reinforce the point that research is messy so it is important to narrow down your subject area and come up with a question that is important to you...

Emma delved into this idea further and spoke about the differnt methodologies we could use. She spoke about action research, grounded theory, case studies and ethnography as all possible vehicles of our research. I think that my main methodolgy will be that of action research as that is more about working with people to find a solution rather than the observation of people and their actions. However I feel these lines of methodologies are blurry so I dont think it will be possible to stick rigidly to one.

I am finding these lectures very helpful as they are challenging me to look at myself, how i research and why I research. Hopefully this will help me to have a more considered and worthwhile project. I really want to understand why I want to design, who im designing for and what purpose does this serve...




This cartoon sums up the problems we are faced when designing, nobody thinks the same or views problems from the same stance... how can we simplify down our 'problem' so we can research and design the best solution to our problem...

McDonaldization

Yesterday we had a lecture by Terry Irwin on the phenomenon of McDonaldization and how it works by its four dimentions of desire, predictability, efficiency, calcubility and control. By following these four basic and systematic human desires people can be influenced into buying into a companys ideologies and lifestyle. This Is the power of branding.

Is it all about control and fear? We need to feel certain about ourself and where we fit in to the world, so we buy into large companies and their identities and adopt them as our own, mostly without realising...

I find this whole topic fasiating, especially as when we start to see through the fasade of these big corparate giants they change the game and adapt to what we want them to be, or at least they look like they do, so we as a consumer can feel secure in our choice of product. Mcdonalds as Terry said is a prime example of this fact, they have recently rebranded themselves as being 'green' so as not to lose customers as people are becomming more ethically aware. I think people fundamentally want to do good or at least for their conciences feel they are doing their bit. We are easily swayed though, convienence and familiarality are always going to be at the forefront of our comfort zone. To actually make a real shift towards a more sustainable future we may have to 'change our posture of certinty' and re-educate ourselves.

I was looking on youtube for the newest mcdonalds tv ad and came across this, subliminal advertising? Find this to be very worrying, advertising already has such a major inluence on the way we buy...

Friday, 3 October 2008

Sustainable by Design

I have been reading this really interesting book, Sustainable by Design - Explorations in Theory and Practice by Stuart Walker.





It gives great insigt into how we are designing things and how we should be designing things. It poses the question that we have the capability to make things last for a very long time but should we. Walker poses


'To think we have the ability, at this point in our history, to design long-lasting products that fully address the complex, multifarious issues inherent to sustainability could be seen as arrogant, not to say foolhardy.'


Walker makes a good argument so instead of manufacturing things that will last for an eternity but are out dated and unwanted we should design for todays society where fashions change quickly. We should adapt our knowledge of practice to produce products that are less harmful to the environment but at the same time disposable. Disposable is always seen as a bad word in the fashion sence but I think that if we can produce a disposable fashion that can be less detrimental to the environment, made with bio degradable fibres, grown in an organic way, eliminating toxic pesticides and chemicals, dyed and printed in a more ethical way and not produced in sweatshops, disposable fashion might not look that bad after all.



'Instead of relying on product longevity, we should be exploring design with humility, and assume that whatever we design for today will not be appropriate in the future. Whatever we produce should be designed in a way that places little burden on the planet, in its production, use and disposal, while also providing healthy and fruitful work.'

(Walker, 2006, p75)