Sunday, 28 November 2010

Bringing your loved ones to your bedroom

..... in a nice, friendly way!

Developing from a previous blog on 'Bringing the world to your Bedroom' I have experimented with not only environments and connecting with others on a 2D wall but now bringing what you want to your environment, enabling you to devise your perfect surroundings in any given space (that has been installed with these LED screens).

The idea enables you to chose from a 'memory bank' of places, products, people... almost anything can be attached to your bank by connecting to the internet. This virtual memory bank takes shape in built in drawers where you activate with touch, opening up the bank to enable you to virtally travel and transform your space.

People and Possessions
This image suggests the 'sharing space' (the other two being 'private' and 'social'. Private being you and your own virtual adventure and social being you and others in the same space or the space you are visiting, coming to you.)

Virtually Leaving Home to Teach in another environment

The 360degree camera follows you in the 'shared' space letting someone visit your space virtually on the walls of your environment. Instead of overwhelming the space with double layered walls, you are able to  select what you want to see and what you don't. In this example this lady has chosen her grandchild to visit her, whilst chosing a photograph of her and her husband's wedding.

It doesn't stop here. The oppertunities are endless...for example chosing wallpaper, lighting (a giant chandelier above your bed), and any other objects, scenes you want at that time.

Pop-up remembering 'app'.

This is not an answer for going outside. It is simply an option for those unable to go outside, don't want to, or simply want to change their surrounding environments.

More to come..

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

'Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry' - Key points and arguments

Although the motion picture and TV industry has shown interest in environmental issues the ‘bulk of this interest manifests itself in environmental content of shows and films and in the environmental activism and philanthropy of celebrities, rather than in industry operations’ (pg5).  The basis of this article stems from this point suggesting ways in which sustainable practice can be adopted during the production of filming motion pictures.  Through research of interviewing environmental practices already in use in the film industry and statistics, the objective was to produce a set of ‘green guidelines’ for film producers to follow, based on studies of what was already in practice. The source concentrates on the production of the film, not mentioning distribution or content.

Film crews are very large, with well over 100 people on a location shoot, which often requires more energy than is available (mainly down to lighting required, (pg30)). This also includes heavy transportation of people, equipment, set and other necessities, all at great energy consumption. The huge extent is shown in graphs where compared to other sectors, such as hotels, petroleum refining and aerospace (pg 17). The source describes the various needs for such high-energy processes, before going into detail about how each can be done more sustainably. This includes recycling of sets and materials, films etc, consumption during filming aswell as the harmful gases emitted through filming process. The article goes on to describe various solutions to these.

The most important point highlighted is that there is a need for change in the working practices and behaviour in the film industry (pg22). This, alongside money, proves the fundamental reasons for working sustainably or not. The key concept suggests the development in communication and education to encourage sustainable processes to be adopted. A hierarchy idea is discussed suggesting the directors and producers taking time to ‘educate and influence and influential’ (pg43), and how teaching methods be looked at for potential employees in the industry prior to practice, e.g as a student. The source suggests the DGA and PGA assosiations as being the most effective to do this (pg43).

Being informed of solutions for sustainable film production is vital but also communicating this to the whole production team is as much so. It is challenge for production to know how to access this information, for example for waste removal, recycling, air quality issues etc, especially as it is different in every location. ‘An experienced location manager has all this information, but they are rare’ (pg30). Another interesting problem highlighted is that workers at film studies had a ‘deep-seated fear that any publicity about their environmental programs will attract unwanted attention to issues that still need to be addressed’, reaffirming the earlier idea of starting at the top – heads of the studios spreading the importance of environmentally friendly film making, encouraging ideas to filter through to other companies. Communication in the motion picture industry relies on ‘personal connections’ (pg22) which refers to how epidemics spread, described by Gladwell in The Tipping Point, and how this applies to the industry. A lot of how the crew run is based on attitudes. After the environmental manager meets with the production crew ‘it depends on the crew wether they care’ (pg22) enough to work in a green manner. The source suggests a positive attitude and improved communication is proven to be the starting point of ensuring sustainability in the motion picture industry.

Corbett. C. J,. Turco. R. P., (2006), Sustainability in the Motion Picture Industry, Los Angeles: California Intergrated Waste Management Board

'Pragmatic Sustainability' - a summary

‘Pragmatic Sustainability’ is written by influential people from a range of fields including science, philosophy and business. Moore has edited each chapter with conclusions on different approaches and ideas behind sustainability. Various perspectives and methodologies are explained, forming an overall conclusion that the answer to having a sustainable future means a combination of changes necessary but most importantly changing peoples’ behaviours. Jamison states ‘the challenge for the future is proper balance between personal engagement and specialized expertise between sustainable communities and sustainable growth’ (Jamison, pg79).  In the growth of the industrial world and population we have to shift all attitudes to reduce carbon consumption and use renewable energies’ etc. The questions posed are how we do this.

An vital concept repeated at various points suggests an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental to change peoples behaviours, politics and working practices which reflect on how we consume and treat the environment. This is the basis of the main argument suggesting if we do this, a sustainable future can exist and by looking at economies, society, industries, regulations, building and technologies a well-rounded view is established. Each aspect is studied thoroughly to produce this view.

Behavioural change comes economy and social politics but these are the places most reluctant to change. Thompson describes sustainability as a ‘social movement’ for ‘democracy and social justice’ (Thompson, pg27) proving the necessity for change by describing it as ‘justice’ for the people. People are categorized into three parties: the government, cooperation’s and citizens. Hess believes cooperation’s would not make this change towards sustainable practicing unless ‘sever social and environmental disruptions were to endanger the survival of elites’ (Hess, pg252). This questions how citizens can make a change if cooperation’s are failing to do so. An example where this has succeeded was in Hudson Valley River (Winner, pg85) where ordinary citizens fought and won against engineers to cancel the building a huge coal-burning factory in aid of the environment. This is a clear example of how community attitudes can overthrow industries obsession with growth and money (Moore, pg 83) to change the future. This idea is emphasized at various points.

Aswell as attitude, the other vital point Moore stresses is about economy. This greed for prophet is why companies are reluctant to operate in a more sustainable manner. If economy was reorganized to incorporate sustainable practice affordably and with profit seeking benefits would it would be used? If not Hess argues that if the market continues ‘regulation is needed’ (Hess, pg237), which again comes back to people and policies. If attitudes changed, green practices would become more popular, thus making them cheaper.

Although greening of industries is beginning to occur, ‘growth of production and consumption overwhelms the forward steps of industrial greening’ (Hess, pg236) summing up Moores point that change is needed now. The view from many fields shows an interdisciplinary approach is fundamental  and offers new thoughts and ideas on how we could develop ways of living for a more sustainable future.

Moore, S. A., ed., (2010), ‘Pragmatic Sustainability: Theoretical and Practical Tools’, Oxon: Routledge.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Bothered about Sustainability in the Film Industry?

NBC Universal Environmental Principles for Film Production

How can the film industry work in a sustainable but equally successful way?

As a designer we know we need to design for a sustainable future, we need to be 'green', we need to do this, that etc etc etc.

Where does this leave the creative art industry for film/TV?

In our culture the most popular form of leisure time is TV. TV and Films are part of most of our everyday lives, and whatever happens, most people sit down after a hard days work and chill out in front of the 'box'.

I'm interested in what happens behind the scenes, in the making of film, particularly on location.

The EMA (Environmental Media Association) are the largest group advertising and aiding ideas of 'green' filming, with 'green seal guidelines' and a yearly award event which is becoming increasingly well known and popular. Warner Brothers and stars such as Leonardo Dicaprio and many others are showing their concern about climate change. For example The Warner Bros studios have won awards for their 'green' studio practices, including the use of solar power. Dicaprio has also insisted on considering 'greener' options throughout the production of his newest films.

The EMA website has many interesting articles on how sustainability is affecting the Film Industry. At the 2010 Awards solar power was used outside the building to provide energy for the ceremony, and a green carpet was laid out for the 'green minded stars'.

Solar panel outside the EMA Awards

Film production expends a huge amount of energy, and the need for it to be done quickly, effectively, efficiently and inexpensively on the whole, mean it if often difficult to use processes and equipment that is deemed sustainable. Locational film setting also means travel to and from studios which creates an enormous amount of CO2.

Is it new technologies that need to be designed to combat these problems? Or is it our working behaviour and attitude that should change? There are increasingly more businesses developing green practices to film, including NBC Universal Environment, Green Screen  and PGA Green Does the process of filming motion pictures need to be adapted so more filming is done in the studio, less carting around to far away sites, less equipment.

Less extravagant design? Will this lose effectiveness of films when they reach us at the cinema? Will film companies be willing to accept this in order to sustain our world?

Peoples wants, needs and the 'in-between'

In the Western World, we become obsessed with possessions and 'stuff'. We become obsessed with what we look like. We become obsessed with having things, thinking that it will make us feel better about ourselves.

Maslow's Heiracy of Needs

We often become obsessed with our 'wants', which can result in neglecting our 'needs'. Maslow's heirachy of Needs can become mutated and distorted, where wants take priority over primary needs such as sleep and food. For example, people want to be skinnier and skinnier, sometimes starving themselves, damaging health, all to 'look good' and 'be happy'. But does this make them happy? No.

Are we becoming Barbie stuck in our box?

People become a product. We buy ourselves, sell ourselves like one of the rest, and our individuality can be lost. We become human barbies. We become mass-produced. We lose our sense of self-worth.

In our consuming culture, we can lose who we are, becoming trapped 'in a box', not seeing the bigger picture of lives and the world.

Investigation into peoples' 'wants' and 'needs' has shown me individuals needs and wants are completely different from one person to the next, and suggest we all need some needs and some wants to keep us content. In terms of spatial design, we have called this the 'in-between space' - a happy medium space, different for everyone but sharing common ground. With my partner, Toby, we are currently designing an exhibition based on this space.

(This post is stereotypical Consumer Culture in the Western World.)

Friday, 5 November 2010

Learn through Life

In groups we were given a specific building typology. On this typolopy we had two days to come up with our take on this using whatever materials we could find in the space of our studio.


Constantly we are learning. Consciously or subconsciously.

All around us people are learning and teaching.

Throughout our lives we learn in different ways, from being very young and learning the principles of life through structural learning and developing into more indepth learning. As our learning becomes more complex, we learn about ourselves, who we are and who we want to be.

Making in process. 'Looking Back on Learning'

The process of learning through life was split up into 7 stages and represented through use of material to express developments:

1. Birth - finger knitted white wool

2. Baby - handprints of individuals identities

3. Play - Pleated strips of pipe cleaners showing experimentation through touch.

4. Primary School - Letters and numbers, structured visual learning.

5. High School - Patchworked clothes and plastic bags showing interests and becoming your own person.

6. University - Weaved essay notes and magazines, the balance between work and play. Relationships and skills becoming deeper intwined.

7. Life - Bamboo strips tightly tied and randomly sprawled show some structure and other chaos, responsibility and uniqueness of each person.

University Weave
Bamboo Life

The frames in which we exhibited our idea represent the learning through life and the use of perspective shows  full frame of each stage in life coming together to create a full picture, looking back on learning.