Category Archives: rmitindustrialdesign

Capacity building for AAA

It’s that time again. Shaking the tree to get action happening.

It’s 50 plus hours since I opened the programme to get some young minds engaging with being a citizen of the planet. And not a lot of action yet.

How does the world relate to each of us?
Do we take the world we inhabit as a given?
Something for others to shape?
Why don’t we ‘feel’ for the others?
Why do we live in a selfish lite world?
Then:
Who is at fault?
Why do we produce such minds that feel inhibited, small and inconsequential?
Where is the impatience if youth?
Why do the youth resemble the elderly?

Plus:
Us this what the world has become- a retirement village?
I am ok, you are not okay?

Is life food, shopping and work?
Is life about being happy? Even if it is a shallow meaningless life?
An amusement park life?

Is this the good life?
Is it all about maintains a good life?

Isn’t this all – this kind of ‘pet’ life- spectacularly boring?

Reflection – Jeong Hyuk Park s9867422

Reflection           Jeong Hyuk Park s9867422

During this studies course I have learn about the importance of change and how change can be applied to unlimited possibilities. It’s all dependent on the way we observe, understand the issue and implement our creative solutions to the areas that require the need of change. These changes need not be only in the form of design of a product but in alternate ways that can provoke a form of change to the psychological, social, political, environmental and medical forms that activates a type of change that can form a difference in the way we people live their lives.

In the first couple of weeks I recall of being involved in tweeting. This was a complete new experience for me since I don’t use social media at all.  It took a while to first understand how to use this application and after the set up and using it for about couple of weeks it was clear how powerful tweeting is and how it can be used to communicate to people across the world in an instant. This was fascinating to see it in action and allowed me to understand the reason behind its popularity. Although I did find some negative aspects of twitter while using it throughout the first half of the semester. I felt that it was quite easy to get bombarded with tweets from people you are following. This can be quite difficult to deal with when you have multiple tweets from multiple people. Also it can’t be as reliable in receiving a immediate response which can be frustrating at times. The WordPress was another application that was new to me. The WordPress application is also another very powerful web blogging application that is used to post and share information. I really enjoyed using this application and will continue to do so in future. The layout and useability is not as simple as the Twitter, but once learned it is not as difficult as it appears.

One of the main learning experiences throughout this course was during the group activities. During our group activities I was able to engage with fellow students in a discussion regarding some of the issues of consumption, and its detrimental impact it has on the environment. We engaged in many group discussions throughout the weeks regarding this issue and in the process we were able to understand the sheer size and magnitude of this issue and how it co-relates to other major design issues. Every form of change will create an equal or opposite reaction to the change that is being applied. For example; if consumption was reduced by implementing a new method of reusing old products by a way of refurbishment, this will create major improvements in reducing the use of our natural resources and reduce the production of waste. However this will also impact on the global economies income on commodities; forcing job cuts and form a rise in unemployment. This is just an example of the thinking process involved in finding a solution for these issues in our group. Our group continued to work together through the second half of the semester to find 7 different forms of scenarios that introduce a form of change in reducing consumption. Although, not all of these scenarios were applicable to suit the bigger picture of change but did produce some interesting solutions that had potential in solving the consumption issues.

With this understanding it was obvious how critical our role as a designer is in producing design solutions that can form a change that is positive in all aspects it affects.

Through this cause I was able to learn allot through Liam’s explanations of the effect of change and how the implement of our change can reduce or stop the cycle of production of objects. This was about how an objects is made process was explained through a line graph and how our changes could alter that cycle. This was very interesting and clear to understand and it was through these explanations that got me thinking more deeply about the effects of design, change and the broader picture of designing process. Overall it has been very interesting and insightful experience and have enjoyed the course throughout the semester.

 

Desirables, the first and the final decision. _3435337

Consume, it’s purely what we do. The average healthy adult human emits around ninety grams of carbon each night during sleep, through carbon dioxide emissions, effectively consuming the oxygen into the blood stream. Healthy adults should also average around two and a half litres of water per day, depending on body mass, physical exercise, and the climate. These, along with many other life dependencies aren’t and shouldn’t be varied for sustaining a healthy life, however many things surrounding the consumption of a community certainly are. The community in this sense may be limited to the household you live in, or as broad as considering ‘community’ at a global scale.

The material value of everyday items lack significance in the society of today. Wasteful contributions to a growing consumption rate, with the addition of population growth shouldn’t be treated so blasé. Companies and governments alike can control the price and availability of necessities and desirables, but without the demand there’s no need for supply. Sure some responsibility can be hand balled to the manufacturer, but in reality the consumer makes the first and the final decision. For most things surrounding the purchase of desirable items in today’s consumption climate, the consumer is also part of the product, the product generated through years of education and stimulation regarding consumables and the value they add to our materialistic lives.

A movement of consideration surrounding the purchases of commodities necessary to maintain a healthy and sustainable way of life is developing, but this change isn’t going to slowly filter through the masses with the certainty of time. A change in living this expansive needs to be embraced by all, and consideration to the bigger picture should be educated and practiced by more than just a handful of willing advocates. Ideally this change would be of instant significance to the world, in lowering emissions through production and land-fill addition at product end of life, however such a drastic transition between ways of life provides too much of a hurdle for one to comprehend, and ultimately instigate. Giving up is a simple yet challenging concept, but the implementation can be done in smaller steps to help ease the transition between good and bad habits. Gradual change is easier to adapt ones way of life around, and is a great way to contribute towards a constructive cause as a ‘global citizen’. Strength to deny ones self of purchases and consumables isn’t usually something achievable without a mindset on change, and this form of advocacy is built on a strong and passionate understanding of the matter, through education covering more than just a singular point of reference or subject topic. The circle of life is significantly more complex than it was merely a couple of hundred years ago. With the industrial revolution came a manufacturing sector even bigger than ever before, slowly destroying niche trades that were once only practiced by the master craftsmen of the time.

Efficiency in material use, and labor price reductions may incur through large scale manufacturing, however sometimes the price we pay for mass produced items isn’t limited to the monetary figure. For instance, factors such as personal touches without doubt add value larger than the worth sum to belongings. This small concept of value has the potential to uproot a whole sector of consumption, beginning at the consumer end.

When we consider “hand made” or craft goods, it’s usually something to steer clear of when buying on a budget, but how does this affect the outcome of our purchases? As with most things made for personal use, their value is appreciated through this use, as does the irreplaceable factors that provide character and uniqueness. This uniqueness is only available as a base level whereby products are custom made, and although this small market has it’s attractions, the movement surrounding this sector is only just appearing to make a comeback. Hand made, personalised, or custom designed goods may cost a premium in the short term, but the possible longevity of the product through it’s working life may be considerably extended. This extension of product life can not only ensure less wasteful consumption through replacement, but add personal and social value through this heritage. Other elements that show value through craft trade may be workmanship and material quality, also adding attraction to an otherwise saturated market with heavily inflated prices on highly advertised goods. Such an extensive knowledge surrounding sustainable design and manufacture has been consolidated, but the implementation to the masses hasn’t filtered through enough to make a considerable impact, to stimulate this necessary change as a world wide solution.

Desirable items may be as simple as a wish, want, need, or even necessity, and the gratification obtained through the purchase or ownership surely brings a form of happiness, but is it a true form of happiness? To be truly happy, or overwhelmed with joy. The price we pay on desirable items, name brands, unnecessary technology, fast food, is all part of modern life. Maybe the high prices of these inflated cost products provide more of this materialistic happiness, regardless of the true value. Working to buy, buying to satisfy, satisfied to live. Wash rinse repeat. As discussed, to change habits as fundamental as this can be implemented in steps to help teach ideas, gradually rather than abruptly. Giving up, the key element of change regarding consumption involves more than just giving one thing up. Maybe a bad habit or harmful addiction, something that wastes precious resources or money, and most times an alternative solution is necessary, but this needs to be carefully designed as to be making a positive overall outcome.

To incorporate good these good life practices, a guide with consideration to consumption may prove a good tactic in tackling the challenge of giving something up, and making a difference. Outlining problems regarding habits concerning topics such as waste or greed, is a vital step, to isolate what it is you can do to make a change. Forming a solution from a known problem then needs to be set as a goal. Something to work towards that is realistic, achievable and constructive proves an honest task and one that can be actively spread inside of your community. Being an advocate for change doesn’t mean protesting, or isolating ones self, merely taking initiative and showing leadership on a global issue (activism). Once a goal is achieved, the healthy life practices need to be set, but not forgotten. Technology is always proving new, more efficient, safer, and healthier ways to live our lives, and turning to design, and science for wealth in education may prove more valuable to us than the products we could otherwise consume. Everyone’s situation is different, and personal factors regarding this topic will vary significantly, however isolating key areas in your life practices will not be difficult! You know what to do, take the plunge! Embrace change.

The Merits of Thrifting & Second-Hand Recycling

“Recycling.”

It is a word that has resounded over the last couple of decades with more or less increasing fervour and purpose. It has several different meanings: ‘to treat or process… so as to make suitable for reuse’; ‘to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of’; ‘to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration’; ‘to cause to pass through a cycle again’ (Dictionary.com, 2013), and so forth. However, the focus here is on using again, and simply reusing an item with minimal or only necessary alterations, or essentially, purchasing and using items second-hand, or even third-hand.

For generations recycling in this way has been inherent in some way, shape or form, almost a natural part of human behaviour. Parents pass things on to their children via written will, friends and acquaintances give others still-functioning items they no longer have a need for, and many others give them to charities or charity-run shops that seek to re-sell these items and raise revenue for their respective causes. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and maintaining efficiency of consumption in such a way is potentially one of the most quietly beneficial things to enter consumerism for the few who choose to invest in it. Leveraging this inherent quality in humanity could be a positively influential factor in the problems of ever-expanding landfill and climate change, and we can do this via second-hand purchases and thrifting.

Many of us by now would have seen and heard the song Thrift Shop by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and if you haven’t, don’t worry about it:

What, what?

However, it is perhaps prudent to consider just what thrift shopping (or op shopping) is and can do for us before we write it off because of a rap song. But first, lets ask… why?

What motivation do I have to buy something someone has already used when I could just as easily buy something brand new?

There are a heap of factors that could come into play when you go to purchase something, and most of the time, it does depend on what you are looking for. There are some things you should almost definitely buy brand new – or some things you can only buy brand new – whilst other things are potentially even better second-hand, or can only be found second-hand due to discontinuation. Here, I will present a few of the benefits to you, but it is up to you to think about and decide whether these practical benefits matter to you when going for a purchase.

1. You can save money.

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit of buying second-hand. It’s no secret that almost everything we buy “devalues the minute [we] open the box or walk out the store.” (Lauren Heisk, 2013) This basically dictates that many an item will be that much cheaper when available second-hand. Amongst the most purchased items of all time are cars, books, video games and DVDs (24/7 Wall St., 2012). Though they are hardly the necessities of life, all of these items are likely to incur savings in second-hand purchases. Resources and hubs for selling and purchasing cars second-hand such as CarSales.com.au are testament to the success of second-hand cars, and in fact second-hand vehicle purchases are encouraged by entities such as TIME’s Business & Money team, Australia’s Business Insider. When considering the value of most cars drops by as much as 20% the moment they are purchased and driven (Autos.com) and that insurance costs subsequently also drop despite the product being near-brand new, it becomes clear why it is highly recommended.

Books, video games and DVDs also see such value depreciation while still being very usable and near-new. Brand new books off the shelf might set you back $20 or more, but finding it second-hand could set you back as little as 50c. Similarly, second-hand video games and DVDs could run savings of up to or over 50% the standard retail price.

Citing from personal experience, I myself purchased a hand-knitted woollen jumper from Ireland in near-brand new condition for $8 when something of that quality would ordinarily retail for almost ten times that price. Savings of up to 90% aren’t something to bat an eyelid at, and can be found across the product market.

2. You can find and obtain discontinued items, or parts to repair such items.

Picture this: you’ve accidentally knocked your Nintendo 64 to the floor and now it’s broken. This game console hasn’t been on the market for at least a decade, but you still want to play the games only available on it. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time? Pokemon Stadium? You can probably find an operational unit that someone else doesn’t want, and score it for cheap. You don’t need to move on and get the latest PlayStation or Xbox.

Additionally, the rapid obsolescence or discontinuation of products on the market is perhaps one of the biggest reasons people continue to purchase brand new. When your product breaks down after a couple of years but replacement parts are unavailable because a new model has already taken its place, the most obvious thing to do is simply buy the new product. In some cases simply replacing parts isn’t exactly viable – in considering products like the iPhone which are almost completely sealed, this is admittedly tough – but when it is, why not? The product served you well until its failure – do you really need this brand new iteration of it that has menial upgrades and a bumped-up price point? Simply finding the same product as yours second-hand isn’t so difficult these days with hubs like eBay, and beyond completely replacing your broken down product, it could also open up an avenue to repair your product, especially if it has proprietary parts.

Perhaps one of the more common offenders for breaking down and being replaced are headphones. While they may not be functioning at all, more often than not the issue is simply that the wire has weakened from bending at the jack. The headphones still function, but it’s just the wire that has failed at a point. So why not replace the jack?

Even cars can potentially be easily repaired via researched or informed diagnosis. There are many car junk yards around that let you roll in with tools in hand to scavenge whatever parts you need – for free. This goes back to point number one – you can save a lot of money by repairing or replacing an item yourself, before succumbing to buying its replacement model on the market.

3. Your purchases benefit charitable purposes and the environment.

Although this does apply primarily to op-shopping and not general second-hand purchases, you may or may not have noticed that the majority of thrift or op shops are run by well-known charities or non-profit organisations – for example, The Salvation Army, or The Multiple Sclerosis Society’s MS Shops. Because most op shops get their items via donation, they can take all the profits made from sales and send them straight to charitable causes. It’s a win-win situation, basically. You get a neat item you would struggle to find anywhere else, and simultaneously help out a charity.

In regards to the environment however, general second-hand purchases are, in a small way, beneficial. This applies to op-shopping too. By making these second-hand purchases and recycling in this way, you are essentially keeping the product out of landfill, where it will only contribute to global landfill overfilling. The majority of rubbished products are unable to break down and decompose to return their base materials to the environment. However, through their manufacturing processes they accumulate and contain toxic chemicals that eventually drain into the environment, though usually remaining unnoticed and non-hazardous during the product’s lifetime of use. By reusing the product and keeping it out of landfill, you are helping to reduce waste.

With these three points in mind, how do you feel about op-shopping, and buying second-hand? Admittedly it can be time-consuming – in a sense, it is recycling for the patient – but the rewards can be massive, especially when one needs to be frugal. There are of course some things that you should almost always buy brand new, particularly if it has anything to do with health and safety, but there is a plethora of things that will serve you just as well second-hand as any of their brand new counterparts. It’s up to you to do your research. Living as we do now with the internet at our fingertips – you’re using it now to read this – and generations of experience behind and around us, learning is easier than ever. Hit up the search engines. See what other people are doing with this product you want to find or replace. See if anyone else is selling it online. Check out your local op-shops to see what you can find there.

Seek and you shall find.

– Anthony Martin S3381331

– – –

References

Dictionary.com, reference for “recycle”. (2013).
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/recycle

Lauren Heisk, of Yahoo!7 Moneyhound. (March 13, 2013). 10 Things You Should Buy Used and Not New.
http://au.pfinance.yahoo.com/compare/savings/article/-/16347930/10-things-you-should-buy-used-and-not-new/

The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch. (June 29, 2012). The Best-Selling Products of All Time.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-best-selling-products-of-all-time-2012-06-29

Autos.com. (date unknown). Does the value of new cars go down once they leave the lot
http://www.autos.com/car-buying/does-the-value-of-new-cars-go-down-once-they-leave-the-lot

Environment Victoria. (date unknown). The problem with landfill.
http://environmentvictoria.org.au/content/problem-landfill

Reflection

Over this duration in this study I have gain much information and knowledge about the world around us. And that the idea that in this digital would we are now living in everyone is connected, allowing the sharing of ideas and opinions to flow easily to almost everyone on this planet.

The introduction of Twitter by Soumitri to me was quiet a new concept to me, having never used twitter before I found it slightly strange and maybe having my personal space invaded that anybody from the planet could see what I am post without me knowing who are they. But as time goes by I realized that twitter can also be a place where like minded people talk and share, but still being a little overwhelming with the amount of information being shown to me.

With the blogging I found it difficult to maintain a constant blogging as it was hard to select a topic to talk about, but from reading some blogs by other people I have learnt a lot of new things.

Having learnt about the impacts that small things could make towards something large was interesting and really mind opening for me. Knowing that each person affects something by their own decisions really made me think of my own impact I am making whether it is a negative impact or positive one does put some responsibility to the way you are making my judgments.

Having not noticing that everything is linked to everything even the most minuet detail, that they are all part of one system or another, has really made me consider to think of all spectrums for future works during design and not just a product itself, but also its life cycle, labor, materials, to even the process of making it. Seeing more that the outer shell of design it has revealed itself to be an extremely complex and sophisticated system.

The drinking less coffee assignment affected me directly as I have now consume less coffee and in while doing so know the cause of drinking less coffee. Learning that coffee farms can also take over forest land by deforestation and that there are underpaid coffee farms makes it clear to the reason for giving up coffee or buying fair trade. However learning that coffee was 2nd in the trade market and if coffee was stopped all together, many people will lose their jobs and possibly an economy crash might happen so now it does not put this picture in black or white but a shade of gray.

So from this when ever looking into a topic of “sustainability “ or any topic, be sure to look at all aspects and not just one side of the story.

Overall I could say that this semester I have learnt that sustainability isn’t just about saving the environment, but also the vast complex system that we are working in and that we could make change to the world, but only one step at a time and with precaution with each step as one false step could affect something big down the line.

Habits,Values

Field Manual                                                                                        Patrick Tran

Obesity

 

In today’s society of mass production of food and the dramatic increase in the varieties of food and choices of consumable products, we have grown to become a fast food gorging society. Our habits and values in life have changed greatly over the past hundred years. Since the introduction of the Internet and television, fast food marketing and fitness programs have been bombarding our minds with images that influence our decisions daily. There is this tug of war that happens every time within our minds whenever we a presented with the decision to deluge ourselves to the unrealistic imagery of food presented on billboards and ads or our influenced views on health by societies set norm.

Obesity is a growing problem of disproportional weight for the future. Many of these obesity problems are most caused by the resultant of not just unhealthy foods but also caused by our own personal habits, such as taking in food, in across a very short duration of time. The habits that we developed over these past fifty years have been habits of self-destruction. This steady downward spiral of obesity that we are making our destiny is the unfortunate social world class that we have formed, that most of the middle class and upper class people don’t appreciate food and family values as much as those living in the third world countries. In order to make changes to these things that are in a way causing obesity we need to be;

 

Be Aware

 

We need to be aware of the certain types of unnecessary food we are taking into our fragile body system. Be alert of the steep increase of over weighted individuals in the population, which are most likely the byproduct of the twenty-first centuries technological advancements and incorporation of it into our lives. Affecting the way we mass-produce foods, spend our time and the way we raise our children. A simple example of how technology is influencing us, would be how we would choose to get to work, most people would drive to work, but they are not realizing that during peak traffic hour times, that a cyclist would be travelling much fast than a person in a car crawling in traffic.

 

Be aware of the fact that many foods have excess levels of processed fats and sugars that we do not need .a surprising example would be Coca-Cola’s icon soft drink the coke. It contains high concentrations of sugars in a can that if we were to take in this sugar our body would immediately throw up. But because there is an added substance called phosphoric acid is used to suppress the overwhelming sweetness flavor that would result to throwing up the soft drink.

 

Our Values

 

Think of the true values in our now short lifetime as a result of the unhealthy habits we have now developed. Within todays fast paced society and the mindset where time is money. We have successfully made ourselves into biological robotic drones, having only one goal, to earn as much as possible within the least amount of time. Whether it is during meal times or the time we take to travel, we would also somehow try to spend as little time as possible on this things and spend those hours on that “last paper or task” we keep telling our family.  Is time and money really all that more important than the lives of our own and the lives of our children.

 

The Habit

 

Humans respond quit negatively to the motion of change. A well-known scenario would be Facebook’s update, each time there is an update people would react quit negatively and with much dislike to the new change. Living in this society where change is mostly viewed as a negative event, we have inevitably trained our minds to reject and fear change. With this social fence in place we have stuck to the same regular routine that we go through everyday, such as taking the train to work instead of riding to work, even though it is healthy we fear the consequences of being late or fired from the job that we sacrificed our health for. There have been writing saying that to set a habit only takes one month. But for many people this maybe a struggle, to break the bad habits such as excessively eating unhealthy food and start up new healthy habits you should take small and gradual steps towards the intended goal and stay mentally strong in order to hold up the promise you’ve made to yourself. But it is advised to start up a new habit only one at a time in order to have a higher possibility to successfully achieve your intended goal. Keeping track of your habit with a calendar is a great way to encourage self-confidence and self- appreciate ones self.

 

 

Diets

 

Diets and food regimes should be approached with a clear understanding of the human dietary needs and an uncorrupted mindset. That is under the influence of fast and easy diet programs or supplements. A balanced diet is essential, but what does balance mean? Well consuming a variety of foods both vegetables, fruits and meat are the basic diet in which us humans have learnt to adapt to. But due to the twenty first century of mass production of fast food we have developed obesity and other various health problems. Selecting a this balance diet and possibly taking the time to eat food at a normal pace instead of gorging the meal as fast as possible would allow the body to be quite normal and not over weighted. The positive aspect of lengthening meal times is that at the dinner table a family will have the time to share stories and bond more closely, making meal time more enjoyable and much more interesting and mentally healthy than eating in front of a screen.

 

So in the end we should really take notice and treasure the things that are most important even though they may not appear that way at first glance. So, by eating and burying ourselves in mountains of processed sugar and saturated fats, while wasting mountains of food each day at the rate we are now in, we are in fact killing our children, our planet and ourselves. Behind every soda and every chip packet is another tragic story of a person’s life being shortened down that is to be revealed.

The Designer Condition

That is, in relation to the human condition. Us.

It is by and large an effect of the human condition that we create our own problems as much as we solve them. Need to get places? Make the motorcar. Need the motorcar to get places? Make roads. Need the roads to get places? Destroy forests and reshape the land to pave the way for these roads to pave the way for the cars to pave the way for us. All of a sudden we realise, all too late, we needed all those trees we put so much effort into clearing for a spot of indulgent convenience. How do we now solve this issue?

Soon, designers get involved. Not just designers of the “design” industry, but of all our brothers and sisters in science and engineering and biochemical research and medicine and so on, so forth. It becomes our job to solve the problems our predecessors created. Only now, these seeds of industrialism they’ve planted have grown so enormous and malignant we can do little to truly fix them. In fact, we must realise we are also the cultivators of these plants ourselves.

I struggle with the thought that perhaps all I can really do as a designer is design band-aids. All I can do is patch up the wounds and hope they close. Maybe I can prune the plant a little, but as almost all other plants, it will grow back stronger.

To what extent can design create change – for the better?