Recap of last post: last week, a tentative design solution was proposed whereby an app would be created to locate users to their closest bin in an attempt to prevent birds from choking and starving on litter.
Feedback from Peers and Tutor
After presenting my draft proposal, it was clear that my ideas still needed a bit of conceptual tweaking. Some of the main feedback I received was to:
- Shift the focus of the design action to target the bins/other stakeholders instead of people.
This was helpful feedback as focusing on the more inanimate stakeholders of the situation meant that I could potentially create more playful design interventions, such as giving the bins or rubbish personalities, or finding a way to get the bins to communicate with people rather than forcing people to use bins.
- Create more of a link between my design proposal and research—where have the birds gone?
It was also clear that, while the birds where the main motivators of my proposal, the actual design intervention itself did not reference birds in any way. After discussing this with others, it was clear that the area of birds had a lot more exciting potential than what I had already explored. Finding a way to look at waste through the lens of birds was something I needed to work on.
- Step back from the project and broaden my thinking more.
It’s true that there is such a thing as an idea being too focused. In order to create a proposal that’s more conceptually rich, I was advised to step back and do some experimental mapping/more research into birds and waste, so that I could find potential links and ways of visualising them.
I decided that I needed to look further into how the public interacted with birds in order to gauge which direction my design intervention might go in. To do this, another web scrape on Twitter was undertaken, which looked at the keyword of ‘bird’ in the Sydney region. However, after looking at a few of the posts, I had found that the Australian White Ibis was being referred to as the ‘bin king’. It was clear then that the Ibis was the perfect target for my design idea; no other bird marries quite as nicely with bins as the Ibis does, thanks to their frequent scavenging of bins around the city. With a new Twitter search for ‘Ibis’ in the area of Sydney, I had found a few more nicknames for the Ibis:
This concept of Ibises eating things they shouldn’t be supported my original research focus of how humans are impacting on birds and allowed me to broaden my problem statement to look at birds eating waste (as opposed to birds eating litter).
The Design Proposition
Project Title: The Sydney Ibis Food Diary
Practice Type: Data Visualisation/Generative Systems
The Issue: Ibises eating waste
The Sydney Ibis Food Diary uses the common practice of Ibises eating waste to make a statement about how humans are impacting on birds. By observing wild Ibises in their city habitats, my design proposition will seek to identify, document and visualise what specific Ibises are eating.
In doing this, I’m hoping to make people recognise that a Sydney Ibis’ diet consists mainly of food scraps and trash and to highlight how unnatural this is—the things they are eating, if looked at without knowing that it is an Ibis eating them, are very similar to a human’s diet. In the gathering of this data, perhaps trends in food scraps will come to light which will also reveal information about us as well.
I believe it will also be beneficial to record the area I’m studying the Ibises in, in order to see if there is a link between the kinds of waste present and the area they are feeding in.
These preliminary visualisations will act as the precursor or advertising to spark a conversation between 18–25 year olds, general public participation will also be available through social media. A Twitter hashtag #SIFD with an accompanying post template for users to enter what they saw the Ibis eating and where they were will also be part of the project. This design proposition itself does not intend to solve the problem of waste or littering, but by expanding its reach to include members of the general public, it will generate conversation and may get people to notice trends in trash and the problems with waste.