Thursday, October 6, 2011

Parts of a whole; human detritus

Parts of a whole; human detritus

The Flickr site:
The Etsy kit:

We consider garbage to be part of our environment. It is not unusual to see a piece of garbage in a seemingly remote place. If we are in that place, who’s to say someone else wasn't (or nearby) and this is an artifact of their existence, somewhere.

The materials we leave behind have a history:

-Where it was produced

-How it was procured or translocated

-How (much of) it was consumed

-How much friction and degradation it endured

-What climatic elements it endured

We can even anthropomorphize these object through their histories.

Most modern Garbology (the study of trash and waste management) lies in life cycles of garbage and their decomposition data. Oceanographic waste cycles is an emerging area of study (total size is roughly twice the size of Texas. Paired with ocean and river systems researchers can more easily observe the course and patterns of waste.

I wish to introduce a sense of sociology and anthropology into the observation of waste and refuse, specifically in the urban environment on a local scale. People are the direct impetus of the existence of trash. I purpose why not have them participate in the observance as well as the removal of this waste.

Through the simple act of marking waste objects in a defined locale, documenting them, and assembling data sets we can learn from that which we wish to expunge. we can possibly have something to learn about how we perceive and coexist with the waste that permeates our landscape as artifacts of ourselves.

I aim to provide individuals and groups with a set of tools and a strategy to do just this. The basic procedure is this:

-Find a area to investigate with a definable area (a park, street, landmark, etc)

-Circle (small) or outline (larger, organic) with blue chalk, then with the object still in the perimeter, photograph the work from above with some detail.

-Attempt to describe (Planter's cashews wrapper, Wendy's soft drink cup (half full)) and locate the item. This will be used when uploading the images onto a Wiki later.

-Collect the item for disposal

-Upload items onto the Group Contributors wiki.

-Use as much text and "tags" to define the object (more the merrier).

-Use the geotag interface to locate as best as possible, where the object was found.

-*Optional: investigate and assemble the objects into datasets or collections

The kit can be assembled on each participants own, just be mindful of the toxicology and ecology of the products you use. Try to use non-toxic, washable chalk, dishgloves are advisable due to reuse, and reusing bags from stores is strongly recommended. I will seek out an optimum prepackaged kit and provide it to participants through at low-cost to jumpstart things.

All participants are encouraged to be as diligent as they like. The more information the collective has on their space and it's waste, the more we can infer. We seek to derive connectivity between the objects, space and it's inhabitants. That being said participants take on the role of artist-anthropologists subjectivity is welcome, as long as it's aim is to further the connection of these intersections. Many variables are involved to allow all users to participate without the feeling that they cannot introduce contributions outside of scientific investigation.

In the works is a mass observation/marking/collection session of many member in the same place at the same time. These "Digs" will hope to invigorate said spaces with the replacement of markings in lieu of waste, while also collecting higher than normal volumes of data.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Phase I - Construction sketches/mockups/ideas

Initial concept:

Revised concept:
No pushbutton, just headphone output and slots for SD card & USB flash memory. The memory slots are not in the mockup as the measurements are not in the datasheets nor do I have a board on hand to measure. Depending on the board, I may have to get a larger case. The 9v battery is mounted to the lid of the enclosure with clips and it sits above the MP3 player board. If there is not enough clearance for components, a new box will be chosen.

Side view of revised box:

Possible variation:
I am feeling a bit off about having to be tied to headphones for the project - it's a way to further shelter/buffer the user from their environment. An alternative would be just a small box with an LCD display and a vibrating motor so that you essentially receive instructions like a text message or with a pager. The 16x2 character LCDs also offer a nice limitation for text instructions. In this way the user could put the device in their pocket while walking and only have to pay attention to it when it vibrates, indicating that there is a new instruction awaiting.