Archive for Base 1: Evacuations

flushing meadows ~ corona park | a forgotten circus

by Tassos Lockbird

Not so long ago, a friend from Greece was visiting me and wanted to go to “some places”, as she had told me. Being an architect, she had chosen some interesting and less mainstream sights, one of them being the Flushing Meadows – Corona Park, created in 1939 for New York’s World’s Fair and hosting it again in 1964.  Now, it seems like a deserted theme park in the middle of nowhere. The peculiar character of the place though, has an overwhelming, yet beautifully enchanting effect. Wasted space, wasted dreams.



by Tassos Lockbird

…because, better late than never…

…here are a few pictures from our visit to Newtown Creek!

Definitely one of my personal highlights of this semester.


by cindy

Finally watched this movie last night.  It is really great.

In its own way the film covers so many of the ideas that we have discussed in class over the semester: the practice of gleaning, the process by which waste policy can be formalized by outsiders, the contents of trash as a reflection of a culture’s ideas and values, trash as the great equalizer (the trash of the rich mixing with the trash of the poor), the social judgements projected upon those who process our garbage, etc.   It leaves the attentive viewer with a lot to think about on the topic of waste management without becoming a didactic work on the subject.

Of course the film is equally about the transformative power of art and the evolution of the artist through the process as well.

The narrative reminded a bit of the Oscar winning film “Born into Brothels”.   While uplifting on one hand, Born into Brothers had did have some problematics around the lens in which it was observed, ie: western white eye goes to Indian brothels, uplifts street kids through art, sells art to rich white people.)  Wasteland is a bit less problematic in this regard since the subjects are adults (less inherently exploitable) and because they are being observed by a native of their culture and background.   I appreciated that aspect of the film making as well.

It’s worth a watch for sure.

Team E-Waste Inquiry #3: Digital Sorting

The digital information stream is growing by zettabytes annually.  From the formal to the informal, from the productive to the wasting, data surrounds us at all times and requires that we engage in a constant process of sorting the valuable from the waste.  Digital sorting involves mechanical processes such as saving, deleting, searching, filing, archiving and tagging as well as mental processes of consciously attending to and ignoring.  In some instances the process of sorting is the primary engagement mechanic behind consumption (what email to read, what channel to watch, etc.)

 How do you sort and discard digital information?  How much time to you spend sorting relative to consumption?

Team E-Waste Inquiry #2: Immaterial E-Waste

Team E-waste is not only looking at the material waste streams of our electronic culture, but the immaterial waste streams as well.  Our question/s to you all on the topic if immaterial waste processing is/are below.

Wasting immaterial resources can seem more abstract, but perhaps you can share stories or reflections on how digital culture can be a waste of time and attention?  Does money seem material or immaterial when shopping online?  Do you use the web to discard (trash) or store (junk) less or unproductive excesses of information, such as old bills, emails, songs that you will never delete nor listen to, old pictures? Is electronic junk or even garbage in some sense an improvement over carrying LP records or CDs, encyclopedias, and photo albums around?

On the flip side of “getting rid of” there is “hoarding”.  With so much immaterial e-waste around us, we are by no means getting rid of it all.  From long ago received emails, digital photos, documents, text messages from your ex on your phone – much of this waste stays with us for reasons logistical, emotional, metaphysical.  Tell us what you are e-hoarding and why.

Case 5, Inquiry #1: Material E-Waste

The E-Waste team has assembled a series of questions that it would like to pose to the class over the course of the next couple of weeks.  Our first inquiry concerns the material aspect of e-waste:

“Electronic waste”, or e-waste, may be defined as all secondary computers, entertainment device electronics, mobile phones, and other items such as television sets and refrigerators, whether sold, donated, discarded, or recycled by their original owners.   In the U.S, we generate more than 3 million tons of e-waste every year.  Of this amount, only about 15% enters the recycling stream.  The remainder is either destined for landfills and/or incineration – either domestically or abroad.

Please post pictures of e-waste that you currently have in your home.  Tell us why you have not yet either discarded or recycled it.

Sanitation overload

by cindy

I’ve been thinking about the sanitation hysteria that we as a culture seem to be enveloped by.  Hand sanitizer everywhere, our need/want to kill 99.9% of all bacteria at all times, the relentless information stream that reminds us of how many toxins we are living with on a daily basis – airborne, food borne, plastics borne, subway borne, electronics borne, etc.

Todd Haynes captures both the theoretical physical nightmare – as well as the psychic nightmare – of living as such in his 1995 movie Safe.  I’m sure most of you have probably seen it already, but it’s interesting to revisit in the context of the sanitation discussion.  The review by A.O. Scott provides some interesting insight into what Haynes was likely satirizing/critiquing at the time the film was made; I’d suggest that these dynamics are still with us as a culture today:

On a separate note, Haynes sure does love the tragic trapped female housewife character; he’s just returned to it again with Mildred Pierce. :-)