As long as we’ve been going to Vienna Design Week the festival has always included a focus on social responsibility. Design is not all about large companies presenting their latest projects or young designers developing expensive gallery pieces, design is also about helping to improve our world, be that the direct vicinity or at the global level.
Vienna Design Week understand this. And always try to ensure we all do.
One of the more interesting projects in this respect at Vienna Design Week 2014 was without question “Guide the Diver! Design for Dumpster Dialogue” from Budapest based initiative Kultúrgorilla.
Focussing on the reality in Budapest and Vienna, Guide the Diver explored attitudes to and looked for practical “solutions” for those individuals who root through other peoples bins looking for salvageable goods. Dumpster divers.
Clearly the obvious solution is to end the social injustice that means some people have to root through other people’s rubbish. But because as a species we’re not advanced enough to achieve such, the next best thing is to make sure that those who do “dive” in rubbish bins do so in a way that is safe, secure and as efficient as possible. Perverse as that may sound.
Beginning by looking at why people “dive” rubbish bins – be it, for example, to collect items to sell or to salvage usable food, the exhibition then moves on to ask visitors what they would be prepared to do to help make the situation more “pleasant” for divers, for example would you collect re-usable objects in different bags or would you indicate, for example with removable stickers, when your bin contained usable objects? In the final section the exhibition presents a couple of current ideas and projects that are working towards “Guiding the Diver”, including the “Street Fridge”, a fridge in the street where locals can place food they no longer want and which others are free to take, the “Homeless Fablab”, which provides facilities where those who collect objects to sell can repair any broken objects they find and the Deposit Ring, a project by Cologne designer Paul Ketz which provides a place next to urban rubbish bins for people to leave bottles with a deposit on them, thus making the collection of them easier.
Ease of collection is, as we say, no real alternative to not having to collect, but until some start up develops and app to eradicate poverty……
Full details on Guide the Diver! Design for Dumpster Dialogue can be found at http://guidethediver.kulturgorilla.hu/