Sustainable System: Trash Transformer

Material: Used Duvet Cover- Teared into strips

Process: Weaving

Result and Function:

Sustainable System: Reflection on Circle Line Tour, Sep. 24th. Sat.

Throughout most of the history of New York City, the East River has been the receptacle for the city’s garbage and sewage. At the very first, “Night men” who collected “night soil” from outdoor privies would dump their loads into the river. Then the waste that was flushed away by indoor plumbing into the sewers, where it mixed with ground run off, ran directly into the river, untreated. Plus the landfill waste and garbages that were piles along the shore, the dynamic New York, and the East River became very polluted, and its animal life decreased drastically if we look into the earlier time.

And now, looking to the east direction if you are sitting on a circle line tour, the comprehensive water and garbage systems protect the New York City with their advanced sustainable technology, also, decorates the city in its aesthetically modern design. The metallic digester eggs have solved most of the waste problems of NYC by collecting and processing; the landfill factories next to the eggs deconstruct the wastes and recyclables efficiently; the tress help too. Chinese and French trees are imported and planted next to the landfill. They are vital, sustainable, also, global.

It is always happy to see such improvement especially when you see the polluted water becoming clean, people sailing, boating and fishing on Saturdays, or just sitting on the circle line to appreciate the metropolis. But you still worry if the system would shut down due to the shortage of energy, you still feel the stinky smell every time you pass by, and you still hearing the micro plastics problems while you are on the boat. It is like we are all complaining hoe bad the air or water and ourselves are polluted as we pollute the earth with our own hands.

Sustainable System: Reflection on trip to MoRUS Museum and its community

So, what is the MoRUS Museum? 

It is a mini museum that only has two stories, it contains a photographic journey of a radical protestant history of the Lower East Side, it is also a tribute to the local activists’ victories and achievements.

On the ground floor of the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, from street occupations to sidewalk protests list out a dynamic and vivid history of the neighborhood’s distinctive culture. Lower East Side remained feral and barbaric for decades due to the withdraw of public service, insufficient governmental care and the abandonment of housing. But it was those certain conditions that had spawned all the movements of building takeovers, community gardens and the thriving communal activists that have served the community to a better, safer, and vigorous place. When the city tried to take back the jurisdiction of the community, when the politics and capitals tried to ruin the habitats, we saw people’s anger of losing homes or gardens, we felt their firmness and aspiration of the tribes they care about, and we admired their resistance despite the government’s threats or evictions.

Step down to the lower level of the museum, one exhibit is a bicycle-powered generator, which was used to generate electricity during Occupy Wall Street. It was undoubtedly a monumental invention for both sustainable activists and the protesters in occupation. And when the power went out after the storm, volunteers put the exhibit on the sidewalk as a neighborhood charging station for cellphones. What impressed me most was the idea of cooking for the community. Due to the withdraw of electricity during Hurricane Sandy, refrigerator and freezer went out. Markets were all throwing away the meat and vegetables that were no longer fresh. The MorRUS Museum and the tribe members volunteered in cooking and serving people in the neighborhood by recycling and preserving.

MoRUS serves as a documentary of the active, inspiring community. And the Avenue C’s neighborhood places out the achievements and victories of the preservers. By walking in the community, visible gardens adorn almost every other block. And the rooftop garden with fresh fruits, flowers, and recycling soils accomplish the building to a cozy, organic and sustainable habitat.

All of the gardens are owned by the community and ruled by the people. They collectively contribute to the gardens by working, donating and raising lifestyle gatherings to unite people of a more sustainable environment. And each process of the gardening follows strict and scientific regulations such as greens degradation, soil fermentation and grey water reusing. Kids play sands, and decorate the fence by hand knitting and weaving. And even the chickens in the garden show their hospitality to us the visitors as we are engaging in the aspiring and sustainable tribe.

Intro to Fashion Studies: Response to Christoper Breward’s Aphorisms

These two aphorisms come from Christopher Breward- Forward- Introduction to Fashion Studies Research Methods Sites Practices

“Fashion is made manifest in material forms. It demands study in the same way that ancient artifacts are made meaningful by archaeologists: through careful excavation.”

Artifact can be defined as something made or given shape by man, such as a tool to a work of art, especially an object of archaeological interest. Also, in my opinion, the aesthetics and significance of an artifact are usually served as a result from archaeologists’ analyzing of physical facts and historical backgrounds which include size, texture, shape, color, prints or contents; socio-political, historical, cultural context; and its purpose of use. As Christopher Breward acclaims, fashion and analyzing fashion (fashion studies) should be treated the same way as archeology in same respect. “From form to function, from extrinsic to intrinsic”. I think it is a good way to study and research. And the learning process, outcomes can be considerably constructive. But fashion has a wide range, from an H&M cotton tank top to an haute couture dress by Oscar de la Renta, we are all calling it fashion. Are we using the same way to study both clothes? Also, fashion can be a trend, a type of manner, a habit. It’s like ancient artifact is only one of hundreds of categories in archaeology. So the learning method of careful excavation may not be fully necessary with all the “fashion” though it brings meaningful research and understandings. And frankly, careful excavation to any items, products or phenomenon leads to deep understandings. But it depends on whether the subject carries the significance and necessity.

“Fashion can be about confirmation, of self and others, But it is also about anxiety, ambiguity and worry. As an aid to understanding psychological complexities it is surpassed.”

Most of us do care about our appearance and sometimes we can say the wardrobe carry your personality. As we are transferring into an era that celebrates difference, creativity, and uniqueness, clothes has changed from practical asset to a social marker. While we are walking on the street, we judge. By only looking at the fabric of the clothes, we know if a person is rich. And by only looking at the style, we know if he or she follows the trends or she keeps his or her own style. So the outfit begins to define you, represent your personality and affect your social status. It helps you attract friends with similar tastes. Also, exclude some passers-by who think your outfit is disgusting. Then, here comes to the self consciousness, the anxiety of wearing wrong, the desire of luxury products, the addiction of shopping, and other psychological disorders that fashion carries may tortures you. So fashion can be a feeling, of being good and confident, or of being miserable and anxious. I think fashion truly can be studies from psychological aspect as an aid to understand the complexities of the relationship between fashion and feelings. But using the word “surpassed”, I think he considered fashion much too important that it is actually is.