UNCOVERING THE WORLD OF 'ELECTRONIC TRASH' AT PARSONS SCHOOL OF DESIGN
Behind the virtual worlds conjured by our computers and mobile phones is the very real world of electronic trash—e-waste: where electronic equipment goes to die. Tracing the journey from wealthy desktops to the poorest corners of the world, this multi-media exhibition defines new ways to see and connect the global ecosystems behind the creation, use and disposal of products and services in today’s technologically connected world. Understanding the interrelation of the ecosystems is key to the design of new products and services that will address and alleviate the e-waste problem. Can industrial design, which plays a major role in creating this problem, be part of its solution?
The exhibition features documentary photographs of those who work with e-waste on a daily basis from the frontline in Delhi, India, along with data visualizations revealing the scale of the problem. Real data and “exploded view” models explore the nature of product manufacture and assembly. Exhibition visitors are introduced to the physicality of electronic products and the end of life cycle of manufactured objects, raising the question - Why are we currently not designing for this occurrence?
This exhibition is a joint work of the students of Parsons’ School of Constructed Environments, Industrial Design MFA creating exploded view assemblies which make up a product, and STUDIOFYNN’s photographic documentary and data visualization. The assemblies paired with photo documentary and data analysis inspire urgency around creating new approaches to design and consumption, international public policy and human rights advocacy. Comprehensive solutions to this problem will come about when all stakeholders - legislators, designers, policy makers, NGOs, corporations and last but not least, citizens take responsibility and participate.
A related e-Waste Tsunami: Design & Policy Response Panel Discussion will take place on March 11, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Co-sponsored by the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons School of Constructed Environments and the India China Institute at The New School. In-kind support for printing generously provided by Duggal.
Photo courtesy Shaun Fynn.