Week 11:Culture your World-Permanently

Week 7:Digital City

Week 6:Traces

Thank you for reading and enjoy your summer!

No room to relax!?                                                                             Photo Credit:Author 2008

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week9:the australian timebomb

Tom Barker is extremely intelligent and has gone into such depths to explain how we are using and abusing, exploiting and plundering our natural resources, however i found it difficult to follow and understand his points. Overall they were very valid from what i understood.

I will continue on a tangent about overusing and exploiting what we have for the present day and near future. I believe it is extremely difficult situation, and from my inexperienced naive design student mind, i also believe it is the result of enterprise, money, business and power, governing powers of the world, politicians and national and multi-national corporations which control what is ultimately going on. Yes, we are consumers, each and everyone of us, so it can also be said that we are at fault, every day people. but what we do and do not have access to isn’t of our control. Take internet for example. Some countries have it heavily censored, Australian government considers putting some limitations on information on our Aussie broadband network. A huge lack of political interest and knowledge will stop me there on that one, but it is an example of how such a major part of our lives (the internet) is controlled by people, those whom are not always elected in, to lead and represent our countries.


I admit i am a little bit of a greenie, and try to do my part; when i see waste, i cringe more than the person next to me, so it’s frustrating to know about all the attempts engineers and designers have had at producing new systems and products to reuse and reduce waste, use of natural resources etc..only to have these brilliant ideas thwarted due to costs the government do not want to spend or because large corporations buy them out, such as some ‘green vehicles’ i have heard of in the past being bought out by oil companies, they don’t want people using other fuels..what would happen to their profits?! shock horror! it’s all about profits, money and increasing profits..why don’t they look into investing themselves into alternative energies? I thought it was obvious that it is the way of the power! Or is there no future to bother trying to cater for? Oh what a greedy pessimistic bunch we are on this planet, we shall go plunder another one, just like on the film Avatar.
Is it not obvious enough what we humans do? This film perfectly depicts us at our most egotistic, materialistic greedy money focused best. So where to from here?

Diamond mine in Russia


Is it a bit too negative to say designing for this problem is like digging out of a hole?
The biggest challenge today is building for tomorrow.

Guatemalan sink hole, May 2010.


Interesting article: decisions decisions… pursue r & d on engine efficiency or show the world you’ve got power because you have 97% of earth’s rare minerals, as stated in a recent article in the Financial Review

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Week 10:Culture your World-Permanently


What ideas should we take from this lecture? Designing cycles, not dead ends.

This lecture was very relevant to our design task, Fluid City. As my group continues to design and establish a place to teach and learn sustainable living, permaculture is just that; a system of sustainable living.

As guest lecturer Nick Ritar stated we need to design systems using cycles. These extremely complex systems are made more complex when we looked at how to take a existing problem and solve it with permaculture. That problem was Sydney. A huge hungry, waste creating machine, living off standard agriculture. Our energies and resources are coming from kilometres away, even off shore. And our waste is being spat out in a supposedly controlled and considered manner, if you call dumping sewerage off our popular city beaches controlled.


Nick’s sustainable living culture is difficult to implement into a world already degrading, however at the fault of our own selves. We know this, and yet we can’t stop ourselves. Many of us have grown up in a world and state of mind thinking that we can take and take and never replace or conserve. We don’t play with our plastic toys when we are little thinking of the limited supply of oil and how it is used to make all our toys. We don’t think about where the water comes from when we turn on the tap, or jump in a back yard pool. And as we grow older and fill our cars with fuel, we know the facts, but can we stop driving? Can we remember to turn our computers and aircon off when we don’t need to leave them on?

We’re just not brought up to be sustainable. Some of us had vegetable gardens, but how many of us continued to create our own as we left our family home?

Photo: author 2010

There are stereotypes and stigmas attached to permaculture, being eco friendly and sustainable design. Saving water might mean “if it’s yellow let it mellow” or drinking recycled water. Some people can’t imagine doing either of those. Eco friendly seems to relate to ugly, poor quality products screaming hippy or geek, neither are necessary.

Designers have a huge challenge to design out stigmas, but I believe needs to be done through education and your up-bringing. Whatever you are surrounded by, chances are you believe it is the norm.

It’s time to make cycles fashionable and palatable.


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week 7:digital city

Lecture by Dr Hank Haeusler-author of Media Facades: History, Technology and Media Content.

Some students after this lecture felt that a digital city was intruding in on our natural world, peaceful and undisturbed. Personally i disagreed that anything now was peaceful and natural until this idea of a “digital city” came is already urbanised, developed, man made, constructed and exploited to suits man kind’s needs and desires.

What i saw in Dr Haeusler’s presentation was impressive and also shocking. I couldn’t imagine using the windows of a building as individual pixels/lights in an image. Yes, it thought, how much power is being chewed up to produce flicker all those blinker lights? I can’t see this as a sustainable way to transform any urban scape, or surface into something interesting and eye-catching. It is also distracting particularly in areas where light was once in small amounts.

The use of light and image was amazing and i can understand how it can be suitable for advertising and vamping up a site. All this talk of different technologies for media facades was new to me;

mechanical facade systems, projection facade systems, illuminant facades, blinker lights, window raster animation, smartslab:, mipix 20 technology:, media mech, metal mesh, illumesh technology,voxel facades..the list goes on. We saw precedents showing how it can be used successfully and in more sustainable ways. These media facades were communicating more than just a brand, or image, they communicate a feeling, explanation or idea.

An impressive example was the tower of wind, in Yokohama, Japan, communicating air movement from the train tunnels below.

We also often see fancy examples of media facades and projected installations in movies such as Minority Report (Twentieth Century Fox 2002), they give a futuristic depth to the film, yet these objects exist today and in the past.

We saw images of a crossing in Shibuya, Japan, in 1958 and over time digital diplays gradually increase, as they did in Times square NY and Piccadilly Circus, London.

In these areas there were interesting influences in regulations for buildings such as the needs to have a facade big enough to facilitate a media facade (in Times Square NY)- and also the architectural issues for the building itself and the people in the spaces (structure/building) behind.

The blinding lights of billboards at Piccadilly Circus London (Author 2009)

Digital Media Facades in Times Square, NY (Author 2010)

To bring these technologies closer to home, i can see how it can be incorporated into areas such as Pipehead Guildford as means of deterring vandals. Bringing light into an areas doesn’t mean spotlights, it can be lighting which brings artistic meaning and value to the site. Educational images can be projected onto facades or existing walls of the canal. Digital boards can be installed to electronically show the flow of water through the pipes, the water cycle- opportunities are endless, within reason.

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traces:the city as a canvas:presented by bert bongers

transport, animals, people, leaving something behind…leaving TRACES…

Simply this shows human and animal behavior, that which we might not have previously thought of until it has left us evidence, as a trace.


They are our lines of desire(Bongers 2010)..creating our own ways, paths, even if there is an existing pathway. For example; where pedestrians have created their own “way” alongside pavements where walkers will go off the path and make their own track worn overtime into the dirt…a similar example is cattle trails, they habitually walk the same way, slowly wearing a trail into the earth, a trace the cattle’s walking movements.

These traces are showing us human behaviour which is not currently catered to. They could be showing us needs and wants which are under the design radar. Another example was the alternative use of newspaper stands for garbage in Central station, which can clearly be interpreted as telling us that there are not enough bins in the area.


These traces inform us that existing objects don’t facilitate their purpose well enough. as designers, we can see and use these traces and incorporate them into future designs. We use these traces to inform us and our designs to improve upon existing objects.

The city is a canvas as we cover it in footpaths, roads, billboards, signs, gardens, buildings and more. The floor is like a blank canvas to build upon, a 3D artwork, with canvas upon canvas of moving, permanent, and temporary works.

An example of a creative individual using cities as his screen is Finnish student Jürgen Scheible.

The MobiSpray art is about engaging in space, bringing extra tension or play to challenge peoples assumptions about an object or place. Similar to the artist Christo who uses buildings and object from the environment to create ephemeral art by wrapping them up, MobiLenin uses buildings and objects to create highly ephemeral art by painting on them with light and his Mobile phone. (mobispray 20

There is no limit to what your canvas is and what story it will tell us;

where people sit in a lecture theatre by looking at the wear on the seats

how they walk and take short cuts off pavements

what they touch on signage

what are the most often used keys on the keyboard


which pages are flicked to the most in an address book

or purely artistic creations, reflecting emotions or a moment captured in an image

or billboards showing us something being marketed, even when it’s been covered in a new trace of graffiti…

Traces are ubiquitous. They are reminders, story tellers or ancient history, and also that which is not so ancient, and also strong hints shouting at us what needs to be addressed in our next designs…

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week five:waste

“there is no such thing as waste” (kerryn caulfied 2010)

Photo Credit:

Kerryn Caulfield, a fashion designer turned textiles-know-it-all had a world of impressive knowledge t share with nt only the fashion students but every word she said was relevant to design. She began as a fashion designers, trained from the beginning, and eventually realised how important it was to know the impact these fabrics were having on the natural environment.

Textiles are everywhere- all materials from clothing to transportation, objects to shape the landscape (coastal stabilization) to playground equipment. Therefore the impact textiles have on the environment is important to consider. In industrial design textiles are what our designs are made of, it’s important to know how effective it is in it’s use, and what affect it is going to have before, during and after use. Is it going to last, perform as desired, fulfill the design function and aesthetics? And once these things are considered, we should think…well, is there a better option that will do these things? A better option will be more sustainable, eco friendly, exist on earth in harmony with the natural elements, it should slip into and out of existence without any impact or noise.

The problem is that billions of tonnes of waste is generated in australia every year, from textiles, material, products. Waste generation is increasing, growth at 7% per year whilst population is only 1.5%. And a large portion of our textiles are garments, a necessary item for human beings, at least nowadays in western societies, and our clothing changes every season, and we want to follow fashion trends so we change our wardrobes, even the furniture and soft furnishings in our homes, and throw away the old.

Opportunity shops. One mans trash is another man’s treasure….

Photo Credit:

Eco-friendly fashion exists in the form of buying from op shops and charity stores (for a retro, vintage style)and eco friendly manufacturing processes and materials.

Unfortunately most of us can’t get around in natural gear like this.

Photo Credit: GQ

Luckily for us in Australia we have charitable recycling which is not common in other countries, however unfortunately of the 230,000 tonnes donated 35.2% goes to landfill, which can leave charities with a hefty bill. Other problems are the use of advance textiles. These are made so that they don’t break down, they are super strong, blast resistant, water resistant etc for example protective military clothing, which has a shelf life of 3 years before it is disposed of. other examples of clothes with a built in shelf life are uniforms. They can’t really be incorporated into one’s everyday wardrobe especially if they are uniforms with advertised sponsors linked to the business. Once the sponsor changes they must change the uniform, and hence throw the uniform out as they can’t have people wearing their uniforms when they are not part of the business or group. This is a real current issue we wear literally on our sleeve every day, we pick it up to read with our morning coffee and we sit on it in the office. This talk on waste was just uncovering the tip of the ice berg and we as designers are responsible for that waste. We create it so others can consume it and throw it away. We should think about that.

Where is it coming from and where is it going…

All textiles come from something…

Photo Credit:

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week three: futures

Dan Hill

urban design:

how people interact:how people use the city:technology shaping socialising areas:

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