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Plastic Imaginaries
Malmö University.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Design.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2203-4474
2017 (English)In: continent., ISSN 2159-9920, Vol. 6.1, p. 62-67Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

What practices can we imagine in this world where progress, novelty, and production of the new has been privileged to the extent that it has had profound impact on not only culture but also nature and how we understand the relationship between the two? Jackson has, for example, suggested practices of maintenance and repair as stories and orders that can handle the decay and breakdown of the 21st Century.[1]

In the accompanying text, we imagine a conversation between the ragpicker and the composter that suggest different ways of living with transformation in the aftermath of a plastic era. When plastic materials started to be used they came with the modernist vision that technologies would rid us from restrictions posed by nature.[2] Plastic materials were used as alternatives to, for example, wood, glass and metal, which suggested a world without material scarcity. As a cheaper alternative they have often been used for disposable products meant for one-time-use only. And, at the same time as plastic is hard to mend, maintain and repair, due to the way it wears and tears, it generally doesn’t breakdown and decay as other non-industrial materials. Rather, it accumulates.[3]

The text is a speculative fabulation,[4] but it draws on ethnographic material that has been produced during a series of public engagement events where we invited participants to explore two kinds of emerging hybrid matters that are related to plastics. The first hybrid matter is plastiglomerates,[5] which is a new kind of stone partly consisting of plastic debris coming from such varied sources such as fishing industry, leisure activities and mundane living. The second hybrid matter is common mealworms that can biodegrade Styrofoam.[6] In the first set of public engagement events, we invited people to walk along beaches in Finland and Iceland to look for plastiglomerates. In the second set of public engagement events, we invited people in Denmark and Sweden to use common mealworms to compost plastic waste in their home.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 6.1, p. 62-67
Keywords [en]
design, plastics, imaginaries, ragpicker, composter
National Category
Design
Research subject
Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-71143OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-71143DiVA, id: diva2:1186570
Projects
HYBRID MATTERs
Note

Financed by Nordic Culture Fund

Available from: 2018-02-28 Created: 2018-02-28 Last updated: 2018-03-06Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
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Language
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  • en-US
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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  • asciidoc
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