What does it mean to own something? How much do I own? How objects influence and shape my life? What objects are more important than the others, and why?
These are the questions I was asking myself during the past year. I agreed to take my room as a research base for my master thesis to observe relationships I have with my possessions regarding my consumption patterns. By examining and questioning objects that support my everyday activities, I aimed to gain a better understan-ding of my dependence on stuff around me which made me reflect on my responsibilities as an owner but also a designer. In a world when consumption is one of the main reasons causing the environmental crisis, our consu-mer behaviour needs to change.
This website is serving as a platform to inform the viewer about my previous investigations and the main motivation of the project.
Far-reaching consequences of unsustainable production and consumption reflect around us. Floods, forest fires, water and air pollutions are caused by uncontrolled human activity and mistreatment of nature. The current behaviour is unsustainable, seriously jeopardizing the fulfilment of needs for future generations. According to scientists, humans are designing their doom where mass extinction feels like an inevitable scenario and yet, radical changes are still not happening.
Extraction – production – distribution – consumption – disposal: This represents the current way material streams. The problem with the aforementioned system is that it is linear, so materials are not brought back to the cycle after being disposed of but dumped in landfills. This broken system, leading to a global catastrophe, urgently needs to be redesigned because the planet´s resources are finite.
To escape the complete devastation of the world we live in, we must act now. Today designers have something in common, they all want to save the world. They are experimenting with new biomaterials, recycled plastic or designing products that could be easily disassembled and returned to use again. However, they tend to fall for the symptom-focused approach, defined by Chapman, which claims that more attention is targeted towards indications of the problem rather than healing the problem itself. Implementing more sustainable materials or production methods is more useful than doing nothing, but a positive impact from prolonging the life of a product is much higher. On the other hand, it is naive trying to boycott the complete outage of consumption since it is an inseparable part of us, deeply engraved in our everyday life.
"By understanding more about the very nature of human need, we can begin to manipulate and gain control over it. Only then can we set out to create design solutions to better meet today's intensifying levels of consumption.” - J. Chapman
HOW TO CHANGE CONSUMER BEHAVIOR OF PEOPLE?
The thesis does not necessarily provide a single solution, but rather points at relations causing the problem and explore it on a personal level from the perspective of a designer, student, consumer, and environmentalist.
I used an ethnographic approach to conducting multiple explorations, balancing between self-observation and observation of others regarding everyday life with things and consumption. After I gathered data, I creatively responded in form of interventions that deepened the understanding of the problem such as home visits, inventory of all my belongings, disassembling of electric appliance, object analyzations, installation with a real and digital object, switch apartments, survey, experimenting with storage finalized in the exhibition in VR space, a workshop about a function and need or public installation.
ALL MY STUFF
WHAT I (DON´T)
TAKE IT OUT
I WANT YOU TO PARTICIPATE!
Now it is your turn to look at your possessions. I invite you to conduct a short exercise, where you can reflect on what you own and why you own it.
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