SustainLab RCA

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SustainLab is a platform for RCA students to explore sustainability. It is a middle ground where ideas are challenged, experimented with, and shared.

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Super excited to share this project by Rui Xu 🐟 The project proposes an alternative to traditional ‘best before/use by’ food stickers, based on the pH of the food itself, becoming more reliable than industry standards. Rui Xu graduated from @rcatextiles this July. ‘Fresh Tag’ by @ruixu__rca, with text below:

I developed a natural pH sensitive ink to monitor food freshness. As an alternative to the ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dating mechanism, FreshTag proposes a dynamic, color based food monitoring system, offering real-time information about the condition of a particular food stuff and indicate food freshness through color change. I am thinking, in particular, about a dynamic feedback loop that provides easy, accurate and straightforward information on the actual freshness of the product. This means that adopting FreshTag can lead to a packaging system being more efficient and sustainable, reducing food waste while maintaining food safety.
Art Wednesday 🎨 Today we are excited to share the work of Rosanna Dean, a recent graduate from @rca_painting. Rosanna’s work is concerned with humans’ relationships with gender, death and the environment. “Who has the honour or dishonour of being Eve?” by @rosannadeanart, with her text below:

Her practice explores a relationship with discarded materials, remnants of actions and things we have consumed, and - concerned by the impact we are having on our selves and our environment - asks where is it that the self really begins and ends.

Rosanna uses found materials such as shells, hair, bones, sand, fragments which were once attached to a living entity and encapsulates them in concrete, along with prescribed painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-psychotic drugs. Out of these concrete sculptures mushrooms grow, watered with water purified in blown glass vessels using alum crystals. alongside these works she places 3d printed sculptures that she imagines as future relics, what icons of a future spiritual practice may be, and lights them with butcher display and led grow lights.

Throughout the exhibition Rosanna has been performing within the space as a way of foregrounding the importance we imbue in things as connected to experiencing with them; in rhythm with natures cycles, through movement, breath, attention and consumption, as she eats tiny pieces of the mushrooms growing out of the work in each performance. She engages with rituals and ancient practices as a way of re-forging intimate relationships with 'inanimate matter' and reframing how we consider liveliness.'
How do you relate to the surrounding air? To the sound echoing from afar? Today we’re super excited to present the work of Benton Ching, which plays on air and noise pollution turned live into horror-inspired soundtracks to help us comprehend the importance of our surroundings. Benton (@mrnotneb) graduated from @idecourse this July. “The Miasma Field Modulator” by @mrnotneb, with his text below:

The killers are invisible. A shiver runs down your spine as you, the protagonist, check to see if they are on your tail. The orchestra builds to a crescendo as they creep up on you. A rise – followed only by discomforting silence.

The Miasma Field Modulator is a wearable synthesizer that turns air and noise pollution into horror-inspired adaptive soundtracks.

Air and noise pollution are two major environmental and public health concerns in cities around the world. Although the information and infrastructure to find out about everyday levels of exposure are freely and publicly available, we often filter them out as we move through our urban environments.

Piggybacking on established behaviours of headphone use, and the embedded cultural language of the horror genre, the Miasma Field Modulator explores the use of audio augmented reality – adaptive soundtracking – to create an auditory experience that steers people away from two major forms of environmental pollution using a single sensory modality.
Do you ever think about the heritage left behind? What in the physical space will represent the current times in a few generation? Aoife Scott takes us in a reflection on feelings of frustration and anxiety felt about the throw-away society and the environmental crisis. Pleased to show her large recycled plastic prints and bio resin sculptures! @crazygiraffe_ graduated from @rcaprint this July. ‘Sink or Swim’ by @crazygiraffe_ with her text below:

In the past Aoife sought to express the feelings and energy generated by the physical spaces, remnants and stories left behind by our predecessors. However, recently her thoughts and concerns have moved on to the nature of the present and the world that we are now creating. What will future generations make of our remnants? Will our future children be happy with the state of the world we will be bringing them into?

Her most recent work reflects the frustration and anxiety she feels about our throw-away society and the environmental crisis we are currently facing, focusing mainly on the plastic problem. Aoife would like to start a visual conversation expressing the deep seated disquiet she feels about the greed, apathy and blindness of society. She sees that there is a tendency today to feel untouched by the problems of others and to shut down at the immensity of an issue such as climate change. Her large recycled plastic prints and bio resin sculptures offer the viewer an immediate but subtle experience of the reality of plastic pollution which tends to stay with the viewer long after they have left the gallery space. It is the artist’s hope that an encounter with her work and the feelings it evokes will spur action and help to turn the tide.
Do not forget to shine ✨ Today, Rui Lius’ work take us on an exploration of movement and life, making us wondering where life stands and how we interact with it. We want to wear it 💅 @rui.lius_work graduated last July from @rcajewelleryandmetal. ‘Jewellnimals’ by @rui.lius_work, with text below:

Do you know there are some jewellery which are indeed alive, merely we didn't noticed that. Those living jewelleries have been called “Jewellnimals”. Jewellnimals are diverse in shape, ranging from the streamlined body to dense tentacles, which adapt to the different human body part such as hand, ear, neck etc... They hide among the normal jewellery. With jewellnimal’s luminous appearance, they attract human beings to own them,  to wear them, while it is not easy to get rid of them once they get on your body. Humans sight are their nourishment.
How could design help a child to relate to the carbon cycle? Fernanda Dobal proposes that augmented reality meets a mammoth toy as a way to educate on the natural cycles, adding to it some excavation fun ⚒ Fernanda graduated this July from ‘Circular Species’ by @fernandadobal, with her text below:

Circular Species is a toy that combines natural materials and augmented reality to teach kids about the carbon cycle. They receive a woolly mammoth toy and a pack of seeds. When they’re ready they plant the seeds and bury the toy, which will biodegrade over the course of a few weeks. When enough time has passed the seeds will have sprouted and the child can return to excavate the mammoth’s skeleton.
On this lovely Monday morning, we are thrilled to speak about Daisy Buckle’s work which takes the instinct of nesting to human scale. It helps connect people to places and shows nature in a way that makes people care, act, and stand up for it. We tried it, and we loved it 🌞 Daisy Buckle, @daisy.imogen, graduated from @rcaied this July. ‘Natural Curiosity II: Nesting Instinct’ by @daisy.imogen, with her text below: “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees” –Henry David Thoreau

These woven nests were created to generate curiosity and intrigue. Drawing people into natural places and reinvigorating urban spaces, they emphasise the connection between craft, mental health and nature in order to start a dialogue about our role within and as part of the natural world. Daisy uses and sources sustainable materials and processes to generate forms and objects which excite, engage and inform.

Helping to connect people to places they may never have been and showing nature in a way that makes people care, act and stand up for it.
On this rainy Saturday, one might ask how do we co-understand our landscapes? How do the popular mind impact the everyday, and by extents, the relationships between the mind and the human-made environment? 💧Happy to take you into the world of Sheng Sheng, 2019 graduate from @rca_ma_photography. ‘Plastic, Plastic-ism’ by @shengsheng_bizarre, with text below:

The concept of the project is about the collective unconscious; in particular analyzing the power brought by the popular mind. By adopting a way in absurd and dramatic performance, exploring the relationship between individuals and groups,observing strangers’ same responses and actions. To a certain extent, it criticizes the phenomenon that easily follows the majority and aims to awaken the audience's awareness of the collective unconscious.
Hello friends 🐸 Today we are speaking about Anna Frijstein’s work, which takes you through a performance and video installation as a result of an investigation into emotional fears and political fights regarding climate change. @anna_frijstein is a graduate from @rca_criticalpractice ‘19 💚 ‘HoPPy DaZe’ by @anna_frijstein, with her text below:

A childlike froggy character tries to connect with ‘nature’, gets frustrated, angry, bored, and entertains itself with blowing dystopian bubbles. Mouth sculpted chewing gums are spitted out as 3D printed plastic, technology of the future mashed together with material of the past. Plastic Fantastic! Welcome to the HoPPy DaZe.

HoPPy DaZe started with the investigation of dominant expressed behavioural patterns caused by emotional fears and political fights within our not-so-happy days. What if one has all the right intentions but just doesn't know how to deal? How to feel? HoPPy DaZe involves the suppressed anger, fear, shame, guilt, sadness, apathy and awkwardness that arises around the sad cliché called climate change.
Happy Monday 🌱 Excited to share the project of Moying Huang, a 2019 graduate from @rca_interiors. Her project ‘Funeral Futures’ proposes an eco-cremation facility within an abandoned and partially deconstructed former power station 💡 We love it! ‘Funeral Futures’ by @moying_huang, with her text below:

This project  responds to this problem by imagining how the future crematorium in London in 2025 can be mutually efficient as well as emphatic: being able to host three multi-faith cremation services simultaneously, whilst ensuring that this futural factory protects the need for intimacy, privacy, ritual and ceremony that each family deserve Funeral Futures also features different memorial facilities, using  liquid-cremation techniques to convert human matter into jewellery or sculptural icons for embedding into different votive walls or towers. The third option allows them to embed their loved ones DNA into tree-saplings, creating a living memorial with added carbon offset value, too.
What would it be like to understand how your toothbrush works? To be able to replace the broken part of your shaver yourself? Super happy to present Tomi Laukkanen’s master project, which enables users to assemble their small electronic products by themselves and through doing so, gain the knowledge and confidence to replace those same parts when required. @tomilaukkanen graduated from @rca_designproducts this July 🌞 ‘Worthy’ by @tomilaukkanen, with his text below:

Worthy is my final project in Royal College of Art and it focuses on the problem of e-waste. Electrical waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world and small electrical equipments create the biggest part of it. My aim was to explore the topic of how the longevity of the products could be improved by creating a better understanding on how products work and how they can be repaired. I designed a family of rechargeable products including an electric toothbrush, a shaver and a hair trimmer.

During user research I gained an insight that consumers don’t really know how their products work, which is one of the reasons why broken products aren’t repaired. In my project I decided to focus on small rechargeable products that could use the same kind of components. Rechargeable products usually have issues with their battery life. The life of the product could be easily lengthened just by adding a possibility to change the battery, that is usually fixed to the object.

In my outcome I focus on helping consumers understand their products more through storytelling by allowing them to assemble products themselves. This creates a fun opportunity for them to learn about the components so that in the future repairing is seen as an easy thing to do.
On this Monday morning, we are excited to share with you the work of Lisa Cruz, @rosaluzci, an @rcaanimation graduate of class 2019. We are absolutely charmed by the most poetic take on a hurricane and the human comprehension of extreme weather events we’ve seen to date 🌪 ‘Irma’ by @rosaluzci, with her text below 🌿

Irma is a short animation film about the Caribbean Island of Guadeloupe waiting for the hurricane ‘Irma’. Inspired by a real event, the film aims to depict the landscape both psychological and visual of that sense of calm before the storm. The main character is a little girl actually looking forward to meeting Irma, even starting to communicate with the hurricane.

The sense of routine toward the hurricane’s situation and the contrast between imagination and fear, between magic and threat in the film remind us our human condition and our helplessness compared to what nature is capable of.