Category: YouTube

Plastic Reflectic: turning people slowly into plastic?

This week’s find. An interactive art installation about ocean plastics and bodies. You wave at this waste, and it waves back. Can a reflection of our bodies in floating waste plastic make us feel like we’re turning into plastic? How does this work? Discuss.

The idea

‘When plastic material sits in our ocean for long enough it starts to degrade into nano plastics, a type of microplastic material that can traverse cell walls into fat and muscle tissue. This is a dynamic that Dutch designer Thijs Biersteker recently explored in his latest installation Plastic Reflectic, an interactive mirror that uses motion tracking technology to turn the spectator’s reflection into a silhouette made from hundreds pieces of real trash. “Turning us…slowly into plastic,” the artist explains’ (Ainley 2016 np).

How it works

‘Plastic Reflectic is an installation equipped with an interactive mirror that uses motion tracking technology to transform spectators’ reflections into silhouettes made of plastic trash. To make these silhouettes, Biersteker’s installation is comprised of a horizontal pixel grid housed with 601 real pieces of plastic trash, which move via 601 mini waterproof engines hidden beneath a pool of black biobased water’ (Waste360 Staff 2016 np).

Find out more on the Plastic Reflectic website.

Talk: keeping conversations going with Political LEGO

A couple of weeks ago, followthethings.com CEO Ian Cook gave a talk explaining why we re-create scenes described on our website it LEGO, what our shoppers like about them, and what they add to our scholar-activist work. That talk was filmed and you can watch it below. He talked through a series of re-creations made in response to the controversy provoked by a TV documentary film called ‘Primark on the rack’ that was first broadcast 2008, and re-energised by Primark’s response to the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. It draws upon the work of Political LEGO artists like legofesto, whose conversation with Julia Zielke we published a few months ago. Ian’s talk outlines the argument being made in an academic paper he’s currently writing. Think of this talk as its Trailer….

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Everything is (not) awesome: Greenpeace, Shell & Lego activism.

Greenpeace & Lego

Greenpeace want Lego to end its links with Shell, and are currently campaigning through the medium of imaginative Lego re-creation. This video is one of a number of examples, whose aim is to encourage people to sign this petition. In the wake of the hugely successful Lego Movie (whose stars make a cameo appearance) this campaign is becoming perhaps the most lavish and high-profile example of Lego activism to date.

followthethings.com & Lego

On a much smaller budget, we’ve been making, photographing and posting online re-creations in Lego of (imagined) scenes from trade justice films, art and activism for a while now. See, for example, our recreations from and around the BBC Panorama documentary ‘Primark on the rack’. Continue reading

For International Women’s Day: Maquilapolis – city of factories

It’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, so we’ve picked out a documentary that’s soon to be featured on our site: Maquilapolis – city of factories. This is a preview of its page in our Electrical Department. It’s unique in the ‘follow the things’ genre because its both about, and made with and by, factory working women.

Maquilapolis – city of factories

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Year: 2006

Type: Documentary film (68 mins, in Spanish with Spanish or English subtitles)

Directors: Vicky Funari and Sergio de la Torre, in collaboration with the factory workers.

Production Company: Independent Television Service (ITVS).

Availability: DVD (California newsreel $24.99 for home use), transcript (English & Spanish, free), online (sections & whole film, search).

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14 February: nothing says ‘I love you’ like…

Buying gifts to give to loved ones presents unique dilemmas to those who are concerned about who made them, under what conditions.

Can you express your love for another person by buying them conflict jewelry, or child labour chocolate? And what are the alternatives?

Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day soon. It’s also been claimed as International Flower Workers’ Day. We’ve added a Seasonal Header to our website to make the point that they are the same thing.

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Click this to get to our website

We have also created a set of Lego re-creations to encourage discussion about things and love this week.

Valentine's Day 2: Kanye West's "Diamonds are from Sierra Leone'.

  • one is based on a followthethings.com page about a controversial advertising campaign by the Finnish chocolate brand Fazer, which refers to a documentary called ‘The Dark Side of Chocolate;
  • another (above) re-creates a scene from Kanye West’s music video ‘Diamonds are from Sierra Leone’, where a New York jeweler takes a diamond directly from a child miner and gives it to a wealthy client;
  • a third takes Livia Firth’s short film about the care that unseen garment, shoe- and jewelry-makers invest in consumers’ appearance, and applies it to Valentine’s day flower growers;
  • and the last one re-creates part of an activist documentary arguing that these kinds of hidden relations encourage us to think differently about ‘love’ in all of our relations, near and far, known and unknown.

Click the links or the slideshow photo to find out more, and to get some advice on more ethical Valentine’s Day gifts. Click here to go directly to the YouTube Valentine’s Day playlist that goes with the set.

February 14th could be an unforgettable day.

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