Team boxWater: IDENTIFY

Hi! We are team boxWater and we are working on an installation piece to visualize and empathize with our consumption for the Solar Studios on Rice University’s campus. The Solar Studios are a student and community art gallery housed in solar-powered shipping containers. In the past they have featured works from artists at Rice and in the community. Lina Dib, the Director of the Solar Studios, has tasked us with responding to the issues of water consumption and conservation, and sustainability in Houston.

First, we’ll introduce ourselves. I am Greg, the author of this blog post and the team lead. I’m a junior at Duncan College majoring in Cognitive Sciences. This is my third time being a team lead and first time working in the installation art space, which is something I’ve been interested in for a while now so this is a fantastic opportunity!

Allison Yelvington is a sophomore studying Sociology and Environmental Studies. She’s passionate about sustainability and also really into listening to podcasts, eating good vegetarian food, and hanging out around Houston.

Alec Tobin is a sophomore at Martel studying Social Policy Analysis. He’s involved in urban design and sustainability efforts on campus and is a DJ for Rice KTRU.

Sam Wittmann is a senior at McMurtry College. He studies computer science and this is his second year in DFA.

Natalie Pippolo is a freshman studying mechanical engineering and this is her first semester in DFA!

Our starting focus is to narrow the question that Lina started us off with. “How might a 3D device or aesthetic platform enable us, and the Rice community, to view our consumption patterns? By making our relationship to natural systems visible could we be made more aware of our normative yet destructive behaviors?”

This week we did an activity to get a sense of our background knowledge and familiarity with both installation and visual art, and water conservation and sustainability. We split our preliminary research into 5 domains: previous installation art pieces, existing consumption habit interventions, water conservation and sustainability efforts, current consumption patterns, and water and sustainability in Houston. Our goal with this research is to give us enough information and insight to narrow our problem space. Here are some insights so far.

Installation Art. Installation art is a form of physical, 3D art that is often site-specific and designed to transform one’s perception of a space. Based on looking at previous examples, interactive installations that tie themselves to the surrounding environment in unique ways seem to be the most effective for our challenge of changing people’s habits and ideas of consumption.

Previous interventions into water consumption. Current designs focus on either 1) making you visualize the water you’re using, 2) encouraging you to stop after a certain point 3) making the use more efficient or serve dual purposes or 4) make you work harder to get the water in the first place.

Water Conservation and Sustainability Efforts. Efforts that include direct involvement with large community organizations or private companies are able to have a greater community impact.

Water Consumption. Americans use 2x more water than they think they do.

As we complete our research throughout the week, we’ll update with more insights.


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