1. What do you think of the ten Long Life design criteria? Which criteria in particular might assist in skillfully meeting the challenges created by climate change and how? What criteria would you add or how would you update the current list to account for specific design challenges presented by the Anthropocene?
The Long-Life design criteria allow people to think twice before they come up with the new product ideas. Among those ten criteria, the Environment is clearly showing the overall attitude towards the nature that designers should always consider. Also, the Safety and the Planned Production criteria remind producers to avoid uncontrollable disasters. Furthermore, the User criterion emphasizes the importance of broader perspective in designing items. If I were to add more criteria, I would add simplicity and balance. For products to last long, their function should be simple and not dependent on specific condition at the moment. Additionally, while it slightly overlaps with the Planned Production, the balance between the consumption of resources and the production of the objects is significant on the Long-Life design.
2) Find an object, device or material that needs to be repaired in some way. Follow the Repair project brief (steps 1-3 for this week) and post responses to each question and images on your LP.
What object will you repair and why? Do you consider repair to be an important design skill?
I would like to repair my umbrella, because some of the stretchers are broken and not properly functioning. It seems like the joints between the stretchers have been damaged. As a result, the tip of the umbrella is not folding well, making it uncomfortable to use. Repairing is an important design skill because it not only allows one to use products longer, but it also reduces wasted resources. Designers should consider the possible outcomes their products could cause beyond the simple transaction.
What are 2-3 possible ways this object could be repaired? What do you need in order to do the repair? Do you have the materials and skills?
The balance of the original structure that was designed to endure the applied force is lost, so other parts of the ribs and tips are also curved and twisted. One way to fix them could be dissemble the umbrella and straighten up each part and joint. Simpler way to fix the problem would be just readjusting the joints so that they can firmly support the structures again. In order to do that, I would need appropriate tools such as the screwdriver that can loosen and tighten very tiny screws. Also, since some of the screws at the joints are broken or missing, I would need some extra small materials to replace them. It is not something I have done in regular basis, so I cannot tell if I am capable of managing such tiny objects.
What will your process of repair be? How long do you expect the repair take? How long do you want your repair to last?
I will first try to insert some screws into the empty joints. If I have appropriate materials, it would be sufficient to fix the biggest problem. However, if the damages on other parts of the stretchers are preventing the full extension, I would have to detach and straighten the ribs and tips before assembling them back. If everything goes as planned, I think the repair would take no more than a couple of hours. It would be great if the fixed umbrella could last for a few years.
3) Read the following four articles on repair and answer the following questions.
Visiting a repair cafe would definitely be an interesting experience. While its primary function is to fix a broken item so that it can be reused instead of going to the waste, the circumstance itself would provide an opportunity to discuss and share memories of the personal items. Getting a new product is simple, but the time one spent with a certain object cannot be replaced by anything else. Furthermore, as mentioned in the article, a broken item could be very special and meaningful for some people, and throwing it away could feel like losing a part of one’s life.
In Korea, the rate of the value added tax is about 10%, which is much lower than that of Sweden. While it would be nice to see some additional tax breaks on repairing items, it does not seem to happen anytime soon. For the government, it is always a challenge to find an agreeable balance between reducing the tax and increasing the social welfare. Since lowering the VAT is difficult, the Korean government tends to allow more tax exemption on items crucial for living. Using this approach, although unlikely, removing the taxes involved in the repairing process might be an alternative option to enforce repairing in Korea.
I am not too surprised by the claim of the article because I do agree with the author at certain extent. Although it cannot be generalized, expensive items tend to be made of better-quality materials and skills. As a result, they are more resistant towards external disturbances and capable of providing more convenience and pleasure as one uses. However, for certain products, their prices are decided based on subjective values, such as the preference in taste or appearance. In those cases, not everyone would accept the pricing in the same way; for a same shirt, one may gladly buy it while another treats it as a waste of money. With that said, the most important factor that makes people want to take care of objects is knowing how necessary and useful a product could be to an individual. For example, for someone who goes for skiing from time to time but not as often as the author, buying the moonstone pants would not be as efficient; cheap functioning pants would be sufficient for him or her to last quite a while.
This design provides an effective solution to reduce wastes in resources used in infants’ clothing. Personally, the most innovative thing about this design is that the same outfit can be worn by both 3-month-old and 3-year-old child. Considering how fast children grow, being able to have one universal clothing for different ages would be extremely useful. I think it would be much easier for the adults to enjoy the long-life design objects because their body and mind do not change as rapidly compared to the children. One possible form of the long-life design could be an interchangeable seasonal clothing. Those items are only worn at specific weather and season, so throughout a year people tend to buy them over and over again. However, if a thin clothing could somehow transform into an accessory that can help conserving some heat (hat, for example), I think it could help people to use for longer period of time.
4) Come to class prepared to share some wisdom from your culture in a 2-3 minute presentation. What is a perspective on nature, the environment, or a healthy and sustainable community that generations before you have held important (around 100 years)? What makes this wisdom still relevant today? Do both older and younger people respect it? Is it something that you feel other cultures can benefit from knowing about?How do you practice this wisdom in your own life in New York?
Traditionally, people in Korea believed that the relationship between the humans and the nature is not unidirectional. In other words, while the humans are affected by the changes in the nature, the nature also reflects the influences from the humans. In order to be optimized and find a good balance in this relationship with nature, one has to spend much time with the surrounding, and causing abrupt changes in the environment was believed to result in harmful outcomes. In modern era, this idea has been forgotten and treated as superstition, especially to the younger generations. However, impellent and unplanned developments from the recent period resulted in serious consequences to the environment and the daily lives of the citizens. As a result, more and more people nowadays are revisiting the old idea. I think it is a universal idea that can be applied to other cultures with different background, as the struggle with the nature is experienced by everyone. While it is challenging to directly apply the wisdom to my life in New York, I try my best to minimize any alteration or contamination of my surrounding.
– How would you describe the Sixth Extinction to a friend who is unfamiliar with it?
The Sixth Extinction, also known as the Holocene Extinction, is referring to the progressive flow of extinction that has been affecting the earth, even at this very moment. In the history of the earth, there had been five mass extinction that severely reduced the species, and the current period, Holocene, is considered to be the sixth. It is primarily due to the human activities; the human influence has become larger and larger as they prosper, so they have invaded other areas and destroyed the preexisting ecosystems. They have continued on using up the resources more than necessary without considering the possible outcomes. As a result, countless number of species has gone extinct, and even greater number of species has disappeared without being discovered.
– After reviewing the “About page” on the what’s missingsite, what is one species that you learned about on this site that has gone extinct?
The California Grizzly (1922)
– What do you think of this site as an artist’s project?
This site provides an easy access to the important information that can guide its users to consider broader issues. Also, it is visually appealing and interesting to explore around.
– What did you learn on the “what you can do” page? Are you willing to do this? Why or why not?
After seeing the page, I learned that there are many things that ordinary people could do to protect species and the ecosystem. Since the species are part of the environment, simple things such as saving the resources and minimizing wastes could eventually help reducing the loss of the habitat. Small effort from the individuals may not seem like much initially, but if many people are willing to do it together, it would accumulate to alleviate the loss of the Sixth Extinction.