Post A: Can We Eat Yet?

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(Source: Instagram <https://www.instagram.com/breakfastinsydney/&gt; )

“Can we eat yet?” is a question I hear far too often from my friends when eating out. Over the past few years the term “Foodstagramming” has been coined. As most creative people use their own distinctive designed themes, such as the colour palette for their Instagram, we can all gauge that Instagram is an important social media tool used for marketing and branding oneself. The upside to Western Society’s frivolous obsession with photographing food is that it is lending itself to design innovations.

A lighting box to photograph food before you eat with the active hashtag #dinnercam. (MWEB, 2014).

This is an initiative to enable restaurant patrons to photograph their food in a well-lit manner before enjoying their meal. There is even a restaurant in the UK known as “The Picture House” that implements a process of photographing your meal then posting it to Instagram as a form of payment (Knibbs, 2014). 

Undoubtedly food presentation is a design form within itself. I confess that I am also frequently guilty of photographing my lunch in order to achieve a winning shot to compliment my Instagram aesthetic. The prevalence of social media has taken the art of food photography to the everyday user. Arguably this could be a positive and inclusive thing for everyday social media users. However the practice has its critics and has generated a plethora of opinionated and satirical pieces deriding the concept of sharing meals on social media.

After visiting Indonesia recently, my entire perspective of food and design has changed. Whilst staying in Kandagan village, Pat Singhi the founder of Spedagi led us through three design workshops. They included Basket weaving and cooking. Initially I was stumped as to why preparing a drink would be included in a design workshop. Singhi spoke to us about how design can be derived from the most basic principles. Ingredients from our surroundings are taken and “designed” in order to perform a functional task. The functional task is our nutritional fulfilment essential for our survival. 

The cultural differences evident in the Sydney lifestyle that I observe daily, are that we often take for granted the resources we consume and this is especially true in the more affluent social demographic.  Exposure to a rural Indonesian lifestyle reinforced that food resources exist to be designed for the function of our meals. In Western society the majority of us merely observe the form-classically it is perennially form over function. Singhi emphasised the importance of using local resources in order to sustain the environment and village by sourcing ingredients locally. Despite the fact that there are hypothetically sufficient food supplies, inherent problems in distribution have resulted in food being too expensive for Indonesia’s poorer people. As a result, Indonesia’s goal has become one of sustainability when it comes to food resources. This was the driver for the enactment of the National Food Law. Indonesia aims to have 90 percent of resources sourced locally and self sufficiency (Nunzio,J. 2013). Whilst something so vital for life is often not genuinely appreciated by the affluent, it is clear that in developing countries such as Indonesia food ingredients and the ultimate meal are treasured for their functional use.  Design is integral to satisfying a fundamental human need and not merely an arbitrary aesthetic simply relegated to an appreciation of form.

References

2016-last update [Homepage of MWEB], [Online]. Available: http://www.mweb.co.za/ [April 1, .2016]

Hungry Neighbours? Indonesia’s Food Strategy and Water Security Future 2013, 11 November-last update [Homepage of Future Directions International], [Online]. Available:http://www.futuredirections.org.au/publication/hungry-neighbours-indonesia-s-food-strategy-and-water-security-future/ [April, 1, 2016].

Knibbs, K. 2014, May 14-last update, This restaurant lets you pay by Instagramming your food [Homepage of The Daily Dot], [Online]. Available: http://www.dailydot.com/technology/free-meal-instagram/ [2016, April 1st].

Stampler, L. 2014, April 30-last update, Instagramming Food Has Finally Gone Too Far [Homepage of Time Magazine], [Online]. Available: http://time.com/83046/instagramming-food-has-finally-gone-too-far/ [2016, April 1].

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Post C: Terasmitra

As Festival Mata Air was an event focussed on bringing community together to create local environmental and social awareness, this meant there was an array of artistic and environmentally conscious groups at the festival. One that I found particularly intriguing was Terasmitra. During our visit in Indonesia, I had the pleasure of interviewing representatives, Sofia and Kiki and gaining an in-depth knowledge of what their company represented. 

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Terasmitra’s ultimate goal is ensuring that small communities market their product successfully in order to be adequately paid for their day-to-day needs.

Its primary areas of focus are on craft, food, eco tourism and knowledge management.  Terasmitra actively markets its brand online via Facebook and offline by attending festivals, events and exhibitions. In order to achieve its vision and in line with its environmental values, it actively uses local resources. Empowering women by encouraging them in the workforce is another initiative that accesses community resources and ultimately reinforces its sustainability ethos. Again, highlighting its commitment to its goal, Terasmitra works with companies that have been given benefits from the Small Grants Programme.

At the festival, Terasmitra had a range of products on display. Extremely striking was a range of hand-woven products, which included pencil cases and bags. Intrigued by these I asked about their origins. It was explained that one of Terasmitra’s partners is “House of Lawe”. Based in Yogjakarta, Lawe was founded in 2004 by five women who were concerned about losing the traditional craft of weaving. Terasmitra’s role in this partnership is to “help entrepreneurs market their products” as Kiki states in the interview. This not only ensures that the cultural connection and tradition is kept alive, but also secures financial benefits. The ethos of Lawe is one of encouragement. In particular, the value of the product increases because of the effort put into its creation. 

The women who work at Lawe, work collaboratively to ensure that the raw materials used to make up the end product are not wasted – for example even small scraps of the woven fabric “lurik” (House of Lawe) are put to use by making crafts for a temple or collages for children. Sofia and Kiki state that the main environmental concerns in Indonesia are trash and air pollution. To address this, Lawe implements several waste management strategies. One of its most significant and innovative strategies is its collaboration with researchers directed at harnessing a waste management solution in regards to synthetic dyes. These dyes are inexpensive and can be used widely, so solutions to make these environmentally compatible are critical.

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(House of Lawe, 2015)

Terasmitra’s ethical ideologies coupled with carefully selected partners in different fields, ultimately works towards creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future. It is also a valuable lesson in how environmentally sustainable solutions do not need to be sacrificed for commercial success.

References 
About 2015, [Homepage of House of Lawe], [Online]. Available: http://www.houseoflawe.com/.

Association Lawe2015, 28 June-last update [Homepage of Terasmitra], [Online]. Available: http://www.terasmitra.com/news/perhimpunan-lawe [2016, 4th of April].
Association Lawe2015, 28 June-last update [Homepage of Terasmitra], [Online]. Available: http://www.terasmitra.com/about-us [2016, 4th of April].
Henry, W. 2015, Dec 2015-last update, THE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT OF WHAT WE WEAR [Homepage of The Shed Online], [Online]. Available: https://www.theshedonline.org.au/activities/activity/impact-of-what-we-wear [2016, 1st of April].
Higgins, A., Ossedryver, S., Villanueva, C. (2016, February 21). Personal Interview w/ Terasmitra.

Project: TekHak

Our idea for our group project began during the storm at Festival Mata Air. As we couldn’t explore the festival to the extent we wanted to we decided to brainstorm ideas for our group project. Initially we had been inspired by the workshop that we participated in focussing on Upcycling, sustainability and traditional crafts. Our idea began with wanting to preserve traditional crafts within the culture and implement this by making sure the younger generation was taught these traditional crafts by incorporating them into the education system. After sharing our initial ideas with Jess, she explained to us that in Central Java most have a basic knowledge of their traditional crafts and culture. Through speaking to local Indonesian students we discovered that traditional crafts were still taught, but not as appealing career wise in order to sustain a stable financial income. An interesting thing to focus on would be an external influence of Western/other cultures and how this impacts tradition. This was how the idea of “Tek HaK” was born!

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After brainstorming issues surrounding Central Java/external influences we thought a way of fusing modern day culture and traditional crafts would be one beneficial in order to inspire creative thinking and still be integrated with the modern world.

One of our observations was that the youth of Indonesia struggles with being proud of their culture. This sense of prestige is represented in the students of today by choosing to eat KFC for social status or spending money on Nike branded back packs. Our target audience was the younger generation and our aim was to alter their perspective of locally produce brands and increase environmental awareness. Through research we discovered that Indonesia is extremely present on social media. They are the third most active twitter country and fourth most active on facebook(Jakarta Globe,2016). Through this information we thought a way to spread our concept was through social media as a tool.

As TekHak we wanted to encompass the incorporation of new technologies such as 3D printers and laster cutters. In order to make these technologies accessible to students we aim to run them through Universities in collaboration with Life patch (an organisation where we did primary research at). Our workshop goal is to inspire creativity and create a new form of craft relevant to modern day society, in which Indonesian students can gain a sense of pride. Through Life Patch’s already established domain in Indonesian society we aim to incorporate their knowledge on collaboration through the community and designers of different disciplines.

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As our primary research took place in Salatiga, our aim is to begin the workshop at High Schools and Universities there. The program is run over a single three day program. There will be a maximum number of thirty students able to take part. In groups of three or four they will work on a design brief. The day involves an introduction lecture, briefing on the product, two classes with concept brainstorming and information on how to use the programs they will be designing on e.g Illustrator or Solid works. The students are encouraged to share their creations on our Instagram page. This social media aspects helps us market TekHak to the Indonesian public.

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In terms of funding for the project it is still up for discussion. However we agreed that there would be a small and affordable entry fee in order to participate. Participants can bring materials of their own to contribute as well as food for the group i.e a small token of some exchange.

By Alya, Christine, Calvin and James

References

Ahmed, N. Islam in indonesia. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://historyofislam.com/…/the-post-mo…/islam-in-indonesia/

Azra, A. (2011). Studia islamika.1(18)

Ballero, A. (2014).
Future craft workshop 2013 (indonesia)
Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from https://asiandesignrmit.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/future-craft-workshop-2013-indonesia/

Derishus, I. (2013). Lifepatch. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://biodesign.cc/2013/07/27/lifepatch/

Dunn, L., Jessica. (2014). Wooden radios, bamboo bicycles and human cocoons. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.insideindonesia.org/wooden-radios-bamboo-bicycles-and-human-cocoons

Hackethal, A. (2009). Treecycled furniture by pt. epos modern indonesia. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.designboom.com/design/treecycled-furniture-by-pt-epos-modern-indonesia/

Hackethal, A. (2010). Treecycled furniture. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.designboom.com/design/treecycled-furniture/

Hackethal, A. (2013). Future craft workshop at IFFS 2013. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.designboom.com/design/futurecraft-workshop-at-iffs-2013/

History of islam. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.historyofislam.com

Indonesia understanding our nearest neighbours. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-1_u-149_t-453_c-1611/arts-crafts-and-sport/nsw/arts-crafts-and-sport/indonesia-understanding-our-nearest-neighbours/culture

Indonesia: A decade of revolution in social media. (2015). Retrieved February/24, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/UrbanIndonesia/indonesia-a-decade-of-revolution-in-social-media

Islam in indonesia. (2016). Retrieved February/24, 2016, from http://www.indonesia-investments.com/…/religi…/islam/item248

More tweets come from Jakarta  Indonesia – the social media capital of the world. (2013). Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://www.slideshare.net/OnDevice/indonesia-the-social-media-capital-of-the-world/3-More_tweets_come_from_Jakarta)

Rebecca, L. Indonesia’s surprising love affair with social media. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/features/indonesias-surprising-love-affair-with-social-media/

Siagan, A. (2013). Lifepatch – citizen initiative in art, science and technology. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from http://hackteria.org/network/lifepatch-citizen-initiative-in-art-science-and-technology/http://www.mingautopia.net/author/lifepatch/

Siagan, A. (2013). Lifepatch.org. Retrieved Febuary/24, 2016, from https://andreassiagian.wordpress.com/lifepatch/

Slater, J. (2004). Teens in asia

Wahyudin, D. (2010). Vocational school curriculum across indonesia and japan. Retrieved February/24, 2016, from http://fptk.upi.edu/tvet-conference/download/TVET%20Conference%20Proceedings/Papers_Theme4/02_Dinn%20Wahyudin_deni_nrvd.pdf

World bank and education in indonesia. (September, 2014). Retrieved February/24, 2016, from http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/indonesia/brief/world-bank-and-education-in-indonesia

Post D: Pride or Remorse? The dark past of Indonesia revealed in “The Act of Killing”

The genocide of Communists (or suspected Communists) in Indonesia in 1965 forms the subject of Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary “The Act of Killing”. Its objective is not only to confront Indonesian ‘official history’, still resonant with anti communist prejudices, but also to explore the ‘humanity’ of the perpetrators. Instead of relating historical events or presenting the victim’s perspectives, it follows the daily lives of the Indonesian Death squad members in the present day. Oppenheimer presents the perpetrators in particular, Anwar Congo (who lead the death squad) to give the viewer an insight into the motivation of the killings and the dominant socio-political influences.

Political motivation is often mentioned throughout the personal interviews with the death squad members. Oppenheimer asks the members to re-enact the killings that took place. The members are keen to do so in order to recreate a visual history of Indonesia’s past. The sense of loyalty towards the political party prevails, despite the reality of manslaughter, and has blinded the members and instilled them with such a deep patriotic view they were (and arguably still are) unable to reconcile that their actions were criminal: “Deep inside I was proud because I killed the communist who looked so cruel in the film”(Oppenheimer, 2012). Not only were the descriptions of the killings vivid in terms of verbatim descriptions from the members as they describe throwing bodies off rivers “like parachutes” but the re-enactment in different genres leaves the viewer with a sense of unease. The disjointed narrative jumps from genre to genre, depicting brutal torture and killing scenes in a mafia style and then suddenly transitioning incongruously to the musical genre with elaborate dancing numbers. 

Arguably the documentary challenges the viewer by showcasing Indonesia’s past from a radically different perspective and also a rather emotional one from the antagonists’ perspective. Whilst the members are being interviewed by the Dialog Interview Show they state, “young people must remember their history” (Oppenheimer, 2012).  Seemingly the members show no remorse (other than the occasional mention of being haunted by the killings in their dreams) and justify their actions. It is not until the end of the film, Anwar revisits one of the sites of torture and he is shown on camera regretting his actions – he is so affected that he begins throwing up on the site. Interestingly the last filmic scene where Anwar is depicting a dying communist being tortured about to have his head sliced off with silver wire is where he states “I felt like I was dead for a moment” (Oppenheimer, 2012).

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Anwar Congo, re-enacting a torture scene as a victim. (Oppenheimer, J. 2012)

As the film’s primary aim is to educate Indonesian people about their past, it is pivotal to gauge the response of the Indonesian people. When the film was screened at Yogyakarta the responses were mixed. One infuriated audience member suggested: “An alternative title of the film would be A Celebration of Killing. (The Guardian, 2014)”.  He felt that the depiction glorified the murderers and there was nothing funny about these events. Another audience member, an academic who was a political prisoner and suffered brutal atrocities was ‘profoundly touched’ and felt it was imperative for younger generations to see this and to establish a society with sharply contrasting values. (The Guardian, 2014)

Overall Oppenheimer creates a highly engaging piece by turning our expected notions of a documentary upside down creating a disjointed narrative taking us on a rollercoaster of emotional turmoil. Oppenheimer presents the killers in a highly unorthodox manner- by allowing them freedom to present their perspective in order to allow their  ‘humanity to be seen’. Above all, it compels them to look at their acts. As with his juxtaposition of film genres, Oppenheimer questions the good vs. evil rhetoric in films by ultimately depicting that despite their justification, the killers repent their actions. At the core, Oppenheimer elucidates that it is too glib to think these perpetrators were all fiends, it is more socially relevant to understand they are people who are capable paradoxically of both evil and goodness and that social structures may contort even the most heinous act into a justifiable one.  The controversial approach to such a serious topic, has elicited a global conversation –as Bob Mandello states The Act of Killing is “a virtually unprecedented social document” (The Verge, 2015).  The film has universally amplified the issue, so much so, that Indonesia cannot continue to present a benign version of history.

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(Oppenheimer, J. 2012)

References

Bjerregaard, M. 2014, . Available: http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/mar/05/act-of-killing-screening-in-indonesiaMarch 28].

Oppenheimer, J. 2012, The Act of Killing.

Zelenko, M. 2015, . Available: http://www.theverge.com/2015/7/15/8971233/the-act-of-killing-joshua-oppenheimer-interview-the-look-of-silence-documentaryMarch 28].

Post B: Post Consumer waste amongst the Fashion Industry

Undeniably I fit the typical consumer profile of the Fashion Industry, as I far too frequently indulge my passion. As clothes and fashion are something that I am passionate about, I decided to research the impacts of my consumerism in an effort to reduce my ecological footprint. Whilst I was convinced that I was being environmentally conscious by donating my clothes to charity and shopping at Op shops by buying pre-loved goods, through further research I discovered these choices are not of themselves enough to avert or even minimise environmental repercussions. It is an amalgamation of initiatives that need to be implemented consciously by corporations and individuals involved the fashion industry. Ironically, owing to the insatiable demand for fashion buying second hand clothes these days may become obsolete, due to falling prices of new clothing making new clothes almost as cheap (Claudio, 2007). This would ensure that we fall into the trap of keeping clothes in our wardrobe, suspecting we will have no reward and that ultimately leads to landfill.

Although I was generally aware of the detriment to the environment of landfill, it shocked me to find out that Nylon and Polyester were not biodegradable (greenchoices.org). The production of polyester has doubled within the last fifteen years but it is the production of these fabrics, which is most alarming. (Claudio, 2007). They are not only energy intensive but are comprised largely of crude oils, which in turn release harmful emissions such as volatile organic compounds and hydrogen chloride all harmful to health. (Claudio, 2007). Whilst landfill may be an important issue when it comes to dumping clothes, the issue of water sustainability arises during production. And then there is cotton- popular in the fashion industry due to its flexibility. Cotton is one of the most water dependent crops in the world. In addition cotton crops in the US, are responsible for a quarter of all pesticides used. The USDA states that the USA is one of the biggest exporters of cotton worldwide. (Claudio, 2007). So the environmental fallout occurs at each stage of production. Production of cotton is dominant  (due to US subsidies) and the prices are low in comparison. Accordingly cotton is exported to nations like China with low labour costs. The economic impact of low prices is what forces the fashion industry to globalise without much thought and allows the proliferation of cheap clothing in consumers’ wardrobes eventually ending up as landfill. 

In our era, the younger demographic is more conscious of the waste produced in the fashion industry and is creating a goal towards a more sustainable future (Bosica, 2014). The shocking statistics are that in the US in 2012, 14 million tons of textile waste was generated with only 16 percent being recycled. (Bosica, 2014).

H&M is a global fashion label with over 3,500 stores in 55 countries (H&M, Sustainability report, 2014). Whilst it is a consumer funded initiative H&M aims to cover sustainability not only in recycling clothing, but promoting fair wages and a holistic approach to the production of clothing. “Our vision is that all our operations are run in a way that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.” (Helmerson, H&M). As the initiative is mainly produced within the company H&M aims to partner with stakeholders, suppliers and NGOS. Within the company they have 170 colleagues working purely on sustainability for the company. Their holistic approach is a seven-step program, which includes a change the mindset and encourage fashion conscious consumers, to be “climate smart” and to ensure working conditions for those on the production side are fair. 

Currently the most important H&M initiative is “Closing the Loop”. This encourages H&M shoppers to recycle their clothing. Through their advertisements and in-store recycling program collecting garments their collection has risen dramatically from 2013, to 2014. 

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(H&M Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, 2014)Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.32.30 pm.png

(H&M Conscious Actions Sustainability Report, 2014)

Advertising is a key approach in achieving these figures. A year ago H&M launched an educational cartoon style video outlining their plan (see below). It embraces diversity and recycling.

(H&M Closing the Loop, 2014)

(H&M Closing the Loop, 2015)

The most recent video above features diversity through gender and multicultural models in order to represent fashion and overturn stereotypes. The premise of the video is that “there are no rules in fashion” as it narrates to the viewer examples of fashion sins. The powerful ending in the advertisement declares that the only rule in fashion is to recycle. These methods of advertisement are fashionable and engaging, targeted at H&M’s diverse audience around the world. This initiative both challenges existing fashion clichés and introduces a new recycling concept to their target market. Such initiatives can only ensure that the recycling ethos becomes embedded in consumer consciousness and ultimately reduces the environmental footprint of the clothing industry and its by products.

References

Green Choices2016, [Homepage of Green Choices], [Online]. 
Available: http://www.greenchoices.org/green-living/clothes/environmental-impacts [2016, March 28].

H&M Conscious Actions Sustainability Report 2014       2014, , H&M.

Garmet Collecting [Homepage of H&M], [Online]. 
Available: http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/reduce-waste/garment-collecting.html [2015, 28 March].

H&M on Closing the Loop [Homepage of H&M], [Online]. 
Available: http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/resources/videos/hm-on-closing-the-loop.html [2016, 28 March].

Bosica, T. 2014, "Human Ecology", vol. Spring 2014, pp. 10.

Claudio, L. 2007, "Waste Couture - Environmental Impact of the Clothing Industry", Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 115, no. 9.

Packham, A. 2015, 15th of September-last update, H&M's Latest Fashion Campaign 'Close The Loop' Features A Brilliantly Diverse Array Of Models 
[Homepage of The Huffington Post], [Online]. 
Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/09/15/hm-close-the-loop-clothes-campaign-diversity-models_n_8139284.html [2016, 28 March].

Sowray, B. 2015, , H&M launches 'Close the Loop', a collection made using your recycled clothes. 
Available: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/brands/hm-closes-the-loop-with-collection-made-from-recycled-garments/ [2016, 28 March].