PROJECT: “Widget” is a noun economists invented to refer to any manufactured product. Supersonic jets and fly swatters can both be referred to as widgets. For this assignment, instead of widgets, a peanut in its shell will represent any manufactured product. Use it to demonstrate the closed loop system, a core principle of industrial ecology.
Industrial ecology is concerned with shifting industrial processes from linear open loop systems in which resource and capital investments become waste, to circular closed loop systems where wastes become inputs for new processes. In this manner industrial ecologists emulate the pattern of resource cycling exhibited throughout the non-human realm. Industrial ecologists tend to focus on the manufacturing technologies that developed during and after the Industrial Revolution, although the term ‘industry’ can also be applied to extractive technologies (farming, mining, and logging), service providers (teachers, barbers, managers), researchers (scientists and engineers), and cultural contributors (artists and performers).
Viet Ngo is the quintessential industrial eco artist because his endeavors actively reverse the deteriorated condition of Earth’s waters, soils, and air and the threatened condition of many of Earth’s inhabitants. He approaches each problem as an opportunity for an industrial solution. By combining the rigor of engineering with the liberties of art, Ngo launched his career with an innovative wastewater treatment technology that he pioneered and patented. The other eco artists in this section engage industrial ecology by critiquing the manufacture of luxury goods (Ant Farm), the extraction of coal (Beehive), the production of electronic consumer goods (Yun), the genetic modification of foods (Critical Art Ensemble), the extraction of petroleum (Eke), the treatment of sewage (Haacke), the disruptions of watersheds (Harrisons), the generation of energy with coal (HeHe), and the damming of rivers for hydroelectricity (Ji).
TO LIFE! Any three chapters identified above.
PROJECT: “Widget” is a noun economists invented to refer to any manufactured product. Supersonic jets and fly swatters can both be referred to as widgets. For this assignment, instead of widgets, a peanut in its shell will represent any manufactured product. Use it to demonstrate the closed loop system, a core principle of industrial ecology. This entails treating the nut and its natural packaging (the thin skin that surrounds the nut and the shell) as useful resources. Thus, a use should be determined for all three components of a peanut. For example, the nut can be used to make peanut butter or face cream. The skin can be used to manufacture paper or kitty litter. The shells can be used for as fuel or insulation. Use any method employed by the artists in this section to convey your system. For example, manipulate these materials to manifest your uses (Ngo). Alternatively, you can create an outdoor installation (Ant Farm, HeHe), an indoor installation (Eke, Yun, Critical Art Ensemble, Haacke, Harrisons), a visual representation (Beehive, Ji), or a sculpture using these materials (Eke).
RESEARCH / DISCUSSION: Henry Ford, Walt Disney, and Bill Gates are all famous industrialists. If each was to become equally famous as an eco-industrialist, how might their products change? How might the processes of production that they employ change?