Unconsumption means the accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer.
Unconsumption means the thrill of finding a new use for something that you were about to throw away.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a service like Freecycle (or Craigslist, Goodwill, or Salvation Army) to find a new home for the functioning DVD player you just replaced, rather than throwing it in the garbage.
Unconsumption means enjoying the things you own to the fullest – not just at the moment of acquisition.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a pair of sneakers until they are truly worn out – as opposed to the nagging feeling of defeat when they simply go out of style.
Unconsumption means feeling good about the simple act of turning off the lights when you leave the room.
Unconsumption is not about the rejection of things, or the demonization of things. It’s not a bunch of rules.
Unconsumption is an idea, a set of behaviors, a way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective.
Unconsumption is free.
Founder & Editor:Rob Walker, journalist, Savannah, GA
Editorial & Community Manager: Molly Block, marketing and business development geek, Houston, TX
Recycling plastic junk, Savage Leather Furniture by Jay Sae Jung Oh combines the Korean artist’s training in sculpture and 3D design, in pieces that begin with collected scrap items, sculpturally assembled and now meticulously wrapped in leather (vs. jute).
In Colombia … Coke launched the first ever bottle made out of ice. Same flavor, same refreshing experience less the plastic or glass waste when you are done drinking. Pretty smart, especially if served in a bar on the beach.
Known as First Container, [this] living-room-in-a-box is the brainchild of Shel Kimen, the force behind a shipping container hotel planned for a vacant lot in Eastern Market. First Container is sort of a prototype (and eventual piece) of the future hotel. In short, it’s there to build hype and convince people that shipping containers can be things humans spend time in comfortably.
Designed by KOOP AM, this one successfully raised $41,064 via Kickstarter earlier this year. The interior finishes are entirely sourced from the Detroit Metro area—that wood was scrap leftover from another jobsite. “We basically reused someone’s trash,” Kimen told Curbed. “It would’ve been trash otherwise.”
Okay this is not exactly the ideal form of Unconsumption, but seemed amusingly weird enough to pass along:
Artist James Dive’s “Once” consists of a 4 x 4 meter cube of demolished and compacted amusement park. A closer look reveals midway prizes, lights, tickets, garishly-painted metal scraps, and other mementos of old time carny fun. I’m just waiting for the bits to begin creaking back into shape like at the end of the movie Christine.
Interesting essay looking at Etsy sellers whose reuse-based work incorporates emotionally charged objects and materials:
While it brings satisfaction, working with cherished artifacts isn’t always easy. Tiffany Nelson of Warm ‘n’ Fuzzies creates quilts from baby clothing. Her first customer was the mother of a two-year-old who had died of cancer. “I had a hard time cutting into his clothing,” says Tiffany. “I have two boys of my own, and I could not stop thinking about the family and what they must be going through.” She’s gone on to make numerous quilts from baby clothes for families whose children have grown older. “I imagine how hard it must be to send off your memories to a complete stranger and wait for months to see what the end product will look like,” says Tiffany, so she keeps customers apprised of her progress through photos. “I make these quilts because it brings a smile to my face every time I finish one and I hear my customer’s reaction.”
Emotions run deep for many Etsy sellers who upcycle sentimental items. Mario Nickos of Redsmo has created teddy bears for children from the clothing of a grandparent who died before they were born. Mumsey of Mumsey’s Mouse House got started when she crafted tiny mice for family members from clothing their deceased mother had worn. “When I saw the joy it brought them, I decided to offer this to others,” she says. Goldie of Goldie Fox transforms military uniforms and the memories they hold into bags, including a New Daddy bag for a friend. “It is very rewarding to give new life to something as symbolic and emotional as a uniform,” she says.
Photographer Dean Chalkley’s aim was to get people turning off the heating and pulling on a jumper instead.
“I find it so strange when people turn up the heating rather putting another a layer like a jumper. Jumpers are better than heating - they can make you really nice and hot. I’ve got one on now actually and I’m really toasty.”
“To make the point in a fun and impactful way, I wanted to make a jumper that was extraordinary so we found Korina Kyriakou, a jumper maker extraordinaire, and she designed and knitted something a little crazy for the shoot.”
“The guy wearing the jumper is Gideon, and he’s not only temperature hot, he looks hot too. I think Gideon will get lots of fan mail and his temperature will rise even more. He may even have to take a few layers off.”
“We did the shoot with no artificial light by the way, just reflecting light from the windows. We did the green thing!”
See for yourself in this lovely behind the scenes video.
A light long-sleeved sweater is generally worth about 2 degrees F in added warmth, while a heavy sweater adds about 4 degrees F.
We’re selling 23 limited editions of this poster printed on FSC paper with sustainable ink for £23 plus VAT, postage and packing with all proceeds going back to the Do The Green Thing charity. You can buy this one here.
Vertical Gallery in Chicago is presenting “Second Chance: Found Objects Repurposed For A New Life,” opening today, June 1st and on display through the 29th.
Featuring 10 artists taking every day small-scale objects, many of which are usually disposed, and use them as the art medium, or within context of the work. Featuring: Ben Frost, My Dog Sighs, C215, Simon WG Butler, Kim Alsbrooks, Joseph Martinez, Dont Fret, Pixel Stud, Audrey Heller, and Maria Krouglianskaia.
Using the hashtag #litterati, [Jeff Kirschner has] managed to start a world-wide Instagram campaign that is helping to stop pollution and clean up the environment one piece of trash at a time.
Using [this Instagram account], he would photograph each piece of trash he picked up over the course of the day, hashtagging the photos as he went. Pretty soon others caught on…
Now, Instagram users everywhere can join the movement by taking a photo of the couple of pieces of trash they pick up each day. It may not seem like you’re making much of a difference, but the over 10,000 photos from 22 countries uploaded under the #litterati hashtag last year illustrate just how powerful the collective impact can be.
Kirschner has stared a Litterati website complete with a “Digital Landfill” that aggregates all of the photos hashtagged #litterati, keeping statistics as it goes.
That’s so cool. It makes me wish we could figure out a way to do something similar encouraging acts & moments of #unconsumption.
With some hesitation, I pass along this story of reusing, um, urine. The “Electric Pee” project:
Public urination can be a problem during Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Festival-goers mostly take to the streets to relieve themselves and it has become serious that local authorities have detained people found urinating in public. As a way of combating the problem, Brazilian nonprofit organization Afroreggae, in partnership with agency JWT Brazil, came up with the Electric Pee project.
Afroreggae placed special urinals that convert urine into electricity in crowded areas of the city. The special urinal uses a process similar to that of a hydroelectric plant. The flow of urine is used to generate energy that is then stored in a battery. The energy produced was then used to power Afroreggae’s Carnival truck.