Saturday, October 27, 2007

social design

These are bar napkins that picked up last night, i printed information from the research/thoughts i had before about my social problem. Tonight i'm going back to the bar and putting the napkins into circulation, documenting what happens after. The info printed on the napkins are the myths i had put on the pamphlet for project one in a shortened version. i feel like people that are drinking don't like to read alot so i made it a little easier.

i have a sweet new planner

so i have a sweet new planner....thats pretty much the extent of what i wanted to say about that

amy knows what time it is...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The issue of abortion in Britain has recieved heavy scrutinization as the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act approaches. In a message coming from the Archbishop of Canterbury, the issue of abortion is framed as one that has become regarded with too high a level of normalicy. It seems that in writing the Abortion Act, its supporters operated under the idea that abortion was morally wrong and should only be carried out in situations of extreme desperation. The Archbishops' fears are that abortion is becoming seen as a viable option too often. Due to the close proximity of the anniversary of the act, anti abortion groups are preparing for both protest and video distribution of footage of an abortion procedure. Although controversy about this issue is and will continue to be rampant, I think its interesting to note the level of involvement the church proposes to have in the individual's decision to abort. The Act that enables women to legally get an abortion meets approval, but in addition to the guidlines of the law, it almost seems the ideal wish of the church/Parliament is to be able to grant permission to have an abortion procedure on a case by case basis, examining individual circumstances.

the biggest loser

In the Times this week there was an interesting article discussing many of the possible negative effects of the seemingly singularly positive show The Biggest Loser. For a contestant on the show, the process and results are drastic and life-changing, they seem to happen almost overnight due to the effects of tv editing. For the viewer at home trying to achieve similiar goals as the people on the show, watching the weight fly off contestants can be viewed as confirmation of their own weight loss failure. Key elements in the contestants success are the resources they have available to them on the show (nutritionists, trainers) and the sense of team created by the set up of the show. In reality as opposed to tv reality, most people who are trying weight loss do not have these resources and are not able to devote all of their time to their health. In comparing themselves to show contestants, viewers do not take into account what unhealthy methods people on the show may be engaging in to further themselves as it is a show about getting healthy, but it is also a public competition. Viewers see the end result of massive weight loss and want the same for themselves, they are dissatisfied with the recommended amount of a pound to two pounds a week. The show creates a false sense of immediacy that can discourage the viewer who wants to lose weight. Logic dictates this show like any other reality tv show is entertainment, not at all an accurate depiction of life, but due to the subject of the show and the emotional piece around weight loss this fact can sometimes be confused.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

As the democratization of technology spreads there is also an urgency felt by some government officials around the world to control the information that the citizens can access, as well as what information is put out to the rest of the world. One such example of this is the military leaders of Myanmar's shut down of interent access to their people. Due to huge democratic uprising, the junta shut down virtual access to the rest of the world, further isolating the country, and in turn have increased the amount of political propaganda, portraying it as news or fact. Even in an isolated state such Myanmar, citizens and journalists have been able to get factual information about the condition of the country and its people out to news sources through alternate means of technology. The missing component is photodocumentation of the situation, which in a journalistic setting is one of the most concrete and undeniable forms of recording information. Without record of events, specualtion about what is happening is rampant, and the countires military leaders are more or less free to enact their own agendas, attempting to extinguish the uprising against them at whatever cost they see fit.

Health Care

Two years ago lawmakers in Minnnesota imposed a $50 limit per year on the amount of food or gifts drug marketers are permitted to give doctors when they make sales calls. In the time since then, many doctors have either routinely refused to meet with drug marketers or have banned their visits all together. On the whole it was found that the amount and the type of prescriptions written have not changed very drastically based on whether or not doctors receive gifts, it was shown however that for children, antipsychotic medication was more frequently prescribed by doctors that had recieived some type of gift from drug companies. Obviously the drug industry is a huge business, with many aspects that seem to overlook what should be the end goal of treating the patient, it is not that surprising to me that drug sales and in some cases drug prescriptions are influenced even on such a low level. At the same time its pretty outrageous that a child would be prescribed antipsychotic medication when possibly not necessary because the doctor received money from a company or the sales person brought some pizzas along with them to their office visit.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Brainstorming So Far/possible formats

This is house constructed from items found scrapyards and dumps, illustrating what can be done with recycled and reused materials. The house was built over six weeks and then was up like three or four days before it was torn down and the materials where sent back to recycling plants or salvage yards to be reused. There is more information about it at, its pretty interesting.

Campaign to raise awareness about the number of homeless people in Toronto, created by a student, Mark Daye. There are more signs at good mode of presentation.

Social Issue #2

Despite repeated conformation from various reputable medical sources that drug and alcohol addiction have genetic components that classify them as a disease, public perception is still divided on this issue. I am asserting an effort to align public opinion with the reality of the disease concept of addiction.

As with any issue worth considering there are two sides to the perception of addiction, those who consider addicts and alcoholics ‘bad” people, and those who consider them sick people. Medical sources such as the American Psychiatric Association, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, and The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, are in agreement that addiction is a disease. In contrast, I have yet to be able to locate any reputable organization that claims addiction is not a disease, through my research I have found that it is only individual psychiatrists and psychologists which quite probably are working from their own biases and motives that make this argument. The core issue debated is whether or not addicts and alcoholics are making the choice to pick up a drink or a drug or are compelled to do so by biological factors. That this issue is even discussed adds to the stigma surrounding it, stigma that doesn’t exist around other diseases like cancer, which is unequivocally viewed as a sickness the sufferer is powerless over having. This stigma still exists obviously in part simply due to information that is circulated telling people addiction is not a disease, but is probably compounded by the side effects of drug and alcohol addiction. From an outside and uninformed view, it sometimes seems as though the addict is consistently choosing to poison themselves and because of this is making disruptive/illegal/socially unacceptable choices. In addition the standard treatment for the disease is unlike any other, the most effective being cognitive therapy in combination with 12 step groups, there is no pill or procedure to cure addiction. As I stated earlier I feel that those claiming that addiction is not a disease are working from their own personal biases and motives rather than medical fact, but I suppose I am too to an extent. It is important to consider both sides of the issue, and valuable to have an understanding of the opposing viewpoint in my efforts to change them.

Sources that claim addiction is not a disease - this guy is an idiot

Sources that claim addiction is a disease -within this site there are numerous articles outlining disease - explanation of biological aspects of disease - talks about terminology, how it adds to confusion about the disease
This image is also from a REBAR project in San Francisco, it addresses the poor design of the city's South of Market area. This area was designed with little consideration to space for any public areas, thus the remedy to this problem necessitates the redesign of the street patterns. The image here is referred to as a "full scale mock-up" of what ideally should exist on the streets of this area, drawing attention to the problem and aiming to get the attention of the city's government.
This pic is from PARK(ing) day, a one day event centered in San Francisco, but also in many other cities where artists and activists and citizens gather and temporarily transform parking spots into parking space sized parks. The event is orchestrated by a San Francisco arts collective called REBAR.

Thursday, October 4, 2007, has alot topics we've been disscussing in class, also has a ton of stuff about social design some of the catgories are art, systems for living, cultural based, web based, social experiment, anyway it has alot of info i haven't looked through all of it yet but it looks like there's alot of good stuff.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

this is a really clever way to make a statement about an issue through altering an existing advertisement, it doesn't deface the ad and its very effective and simple.
I thought this post about changes barnes and nobles has made or is making to their website was sort of interesting, I think it addresses issues that are imortant to consider when I am figuring out the format to my next social design problem. Basically its talking about how even though barnes and noble has redesigned their site, they haven't made it any more beneficial to their customers, and they haven't made any strides as far as setting themselves apart from other online bookstores. What barnes and noble has not done is put themselves in the mindset of the customer. This reiterates to me the importance of the presentation of the information in my project, the issue i'm addressing has already been addressed in many ways from both sides, i need to think about what about the presentation my information sets it apart/engages and thus informs people. I think the issue i'm talking about has the potential to easily become preachy and could also be an uncomfortable topic based on bad personal experiences for some people, i need to figure ways for the most amount of people to see information, and also present it in a way that that will meet people where they are as far as their opinions.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

I feel like the components to my project are good jumping off points for a more evolved plan. I’m happy with the information I compiled in the brochure I made. I like the idea of the necklace, or some type of symbol representing the subject I’m addressing. Having a blog is obviously a good way to disperse more information so I’m going to start updating it with more info. I’m still interested in doing mini street interviews, I think that is an interesting way of finding out information about how addiction is viewed.
One of the main issues I had in completing an effective project is time management problems, I feel like I could have gone about finishing the project in a more organized way. For the next project I need to make up smaller goals that are spaced closely together so the project keeps moving forward continuously. In the next project I need to be more aggressive in terms of getting information out, meaning blogging a lot and devising effective ways of dispersing the brochure I made, and considering other formats that this information could be presented. I feel like brainstorming sessions would also be more helpful for me if I were more organized, if I had a more thoughtful presentation of exactly what I want to say in regards to the issue obviously I would get more focused help in finding good solutions. Basically I think the issue is a valid one to address, and the information I have thus far is good, but I fell short in both the visual presentation of the ideas and in the dispersal of the info.