disposable food packaging project at the University of
URI lecture to examine ‘artist practice as social innovation,’ Oct. 28
Reuse will raise awareness of disposable food and beverage
packaging, encourage its avoidance and promote the use and
reuse of natural resources. The project will enrich the discourse
about a sustainable campus and help the university pioneer
innovative ways to promote conservation, recycling and reuse
of natural resources.
This interdisciplinary and participatory project with
the College of Engineering, and the Departments of Art and
Art History, Film & Media, and Communication Studies is
an open process where different skills and knowledge will
be explored to understand the complexity of circles and to
translate it into a sustainable design. Students learn problem-based
approaches inside and outside the classroom. They will develop
an understanding of interconnections within this interdisciplinary
practice. The project has 4 steps:
Artistic background, working methods and strategies will be
introduced. Artists Martin Keil and Henrik Mayer will preview
the project Reuse Disposable Food Packaging and will describe
the goals of the interdisciplinary and participatory process.
Students in Art & Art History, Engineering, Film &
Media, Communication Studies and related fields will engage
in problem-based learning about sustainability, strategic
planning, food waste and engineering and develop a holistic
understanding and critical reflection of interconnections.
Aside from the artistic and engineering dimension of this
process, students in the new Sustainability LLC and in Dr.
Mundorf's COM315/SUS315 class will help promote and document
the entire project. They will be working on relevant communication
campaigns in parallel.
Dedicated recycling bins will be placed around campus and
specifically in the Memorial Union food court to collect used
dinnerware, Styrofoam cups and plastic bottles. Meanwhile,
students - especially those from Art and Art History - will
be encouraged to create and design meaningful new shapes to
recycle and re-purpose these materials. Together with students
from engineering they will work on solutions to manufacture
forms for 3d printing, thermic and injection molding. Students
will learn to work with Processing 2.
Processing 2 is an open source programming language and integrated
development environment (IDE) built for the electronic arts,
new media art, and visual design communities with the purpose
of teaching the fundamentals of computer programming in a
visual context, and to serve as the foundation for electronic
sketchbooks. With faculty and students from Mechanical Engineering
the collected material (e.g. plastic cups and plates, utensils/cutlery)
will be granulated for 3d printing, or molded for using thermal
and injection molding. The polypropylene, a fossil fuel (oil)
product will be recycled, redesigned and reproduced into various
shapes. Small interdisciplinary task forces with students
from Engineering and Art will be created to work on specific
solutions and design under the guidance of Keil and Mayer.
Art students and students from Engineering will present their
work and models in an exhibition at the art department with
promotional help from Communication Studies students. The
long-term objective is to sustainably implement reusable dinnerware
throughout campus and to eliminate disposable dinnerware,
plastic water bottles and Styrofoam cups.
Through this participatory project URI faculty and students
actively and directly experience the potential for an active,
highly visible, cycle of reusable resources in everyday life
at URI on location, and, thus develop a stronger environmental
awareness in general. The project might also lead to continued
collaboration between Art & Art History, Engineering,
Film & Media, Communication Studies and other majors.
For instance, students can invent a procedure to use recycled
polypropylene for 3d printing. Another challenge would be
to work on recycling and reusing polystyrene. The resulting
project can be a model for a Design Center at URI, where interdisciplinary
and problem based learning can face challenges of the 21st
century by working and cooperating on site specific solutions
for the community. The practical experience is crucial, as
it would enable students to express their own awareness of
sustainable impacts. In a wider picture it could help to develop
a sustainable model for URI as a whole. We have made plans
to incorporate the results in the Honors Colloquium offered
by Cheryl Foster (Philosophy and Honors) and Cate Morrison
(Communication Studies) in Spring 2015, which focuses on public
art on the URI campus.
a project by REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT in the framework
of URI's Distinguished Visiting Artist initiative