For someone who had a hard time finding the reading (like I did.)
Since the link http://www.collab2011.scrapyardchallenge.com/lfsy.pdf is not working.
Thanks Parinot for the file though! lessons from the scrapyard

Lesson from the scrapyard:
Creative uses of found materials within a workshop setting
The chemistry of the idea of scrapyard challenge is really something. Combining Low-Tech and Low Art approach to stimulate the scene of interaction design and physical computing that regardless of the expertise on computation, the rule that push out unconventional creativity on using found objects in limited time constraint, which also criticize reckless electronic consumption of the society. The unpredictable part of the workshop is really fit the word challenge. It’s the challenge that push you to the edge of the world after the apocalypse and everything end up as a scrapyard. Still, even if human have used out all raw material in the world and cannot produce any product in conventional ways any more, these junks indeed would become a new raw material. Hacking the urban junk cycle to obtain material. The workshop, in some way,  does provoke the awareness of the consumption through fun unconventional ways. Making musical instruments is really open-ended way to make things. So, maybe, the workshop is not just only what we do on that time. But also what’s left in our mind next time we see the scrapyard.


[wk1] junk scavenging diary #1

 Aug 31, 2011

3:45 pm
I was going to check out NYU computer store when I found this printer lying there right in front of my feet. I grabbed it right away and that’s how my scavenging officially started!! The junk was on Waverly Pl. x Mercer St.  I think it’s from NYU’s dorm nearby. From that area I got All-in-one printer, A handheld vacuum, A fan and this neat bag that just fit everything in it and I putted it back to the studio. Since my landlord going to have a problem with these junk for sure.

5:36 pm
After I put all the treasure I just found to the studio I took subway back to my home at Centre St. And explored around the neighborhood a little bit. Most of the junk are these paper package that the shop discarded, actually it’s almost every 10m before I found the next bunch of package. And noted that I saw this bicycle locked to the pole around Hester St. It looks like have been there forever though…


Sep 1, 2011

9.34 pm
It was a windy day so I took a chance to walk home instead of taking subway. The scavenging wasn’t so well, I didn’t find any electronic junk. But that was only until I almost got to my home, Just one block away from my place, I found 3 TVs stacking there on the side of the road!! But It seems to be heavy and make me troubles if I do take it home so I just leave it alone. I also found some interesting everyday things in nearby junk. But I didn’t take any of them.

Sep 5, 2011

4.35 pm
I walked around my place to the supermarket. And I found the AC, rice cooker and a bed on the block behind my house. Also I saw some local junk scavenger there too. (tried to took their picture. one is a guy holding 2 huge bags and another one is a middle-age woman with a cart. ) They were checking out junks while I’m taking pictures. But I think electronic junks are not their specialty anyway. On the way to Little Italy I still see the old bike still sticking at the same place, so I’m quite sure that it’s a junk in some way. And I also found another bike locked to the fence near the junk pile. Let’s see if it will still be there next time I pass by.


reading: lessons from the scrapyard


In last week, that was my first time to heard about the interesting term, ” lost technology.” For me, I think technology definitely bring lots of advantages to people, however, there must something we lost from this advance, such as friends. As international student, the only way I can contact with my Taiwanese friends is either email or other related social softwares. However, does that really shorten our distance? If I get used to relying on technology, I probably will ignore something that result in terrible mistakes between us and cannot explain and clarify what I really want to express in short time because we live in different time zones.  Take another one for example. Some people said the rise of carbon dioxide is increasing because of technology, but some scientists said that they can use a little bit of chemistry powder and technology to lower down increasing temperature  and  make another ice age. Then what is the definition of technology? Do we have right to get everything under our control like world creator? Then why don’t we foresee the result if we really are world creator? Maybe it talks about issue of supply and demand sides. Do we really need this device? Then why are there so many discarded materials on the street? Scrapyard Challenge is really like a great challenge. Most of my friends cannot understand why I must take this class and complete one ugly MIDI junk. As mentioned in the reading, the most important thing I will challenge is to come up with creative idea to redesign this discarded material and make it work again! The meaning of technology is not always expensive, and we can collect our resource from junk! If you want to create artworks with technology, in this way, you can start anytime you want! I think before the work has commercial value, performance or its looking is not the most important thing we ask for. That might be like one creative experiment. No limitation is the best way to make creative works.


Lessons from the scrapyard: creative uses of found materials within a workshop setting:
As I’m interested in Dada movement before and those found object as Art. It’s a very fascinating to me for this Scrapyard Challenge in the way that it’s a combination between DIY from Punk movement + Hacking + + ‘Low Art’ of Pop culture + Interactive media. Moreover, it emphasises in creativity and dissolves boundary between advance and novice with broadminded. All the examples are very interesting and would be challenging to me, since I’ve never done so and don’t know how.
This is one of my favorite part.
‘The value of the Scrapyard experience for such an individual comes
from ‘‘breaking the rules’’ in order to encourage mental and creative flexibility.’

7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives:

It’s quite irony to me when some people try to claim themselves ‘green’ or ‘natural friendly’ by using very complicated technology. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. In this case like Ebook or Ipad, reminds me a little of what Nasa tried to do in the 60’s when the astronauts floated in space and found out that they couldn’t use pen and tried so hard to make an innovation like ‘space pen’


, while Russians tried to use pencils instead.
Anyway, I like this attempt of using Non technology methods instead of spending too much. In Thailand there is some attempt to help environment as well, as I remembered. Street vendors used plates made of banana leaves instead of plastic or used the low technology like hanging plastic bags filled up with water under ceiling to chase flies away, by reflecting light, instead of using complex machine.

I believe problems should be solved more with the bigger level. We’re all influenced by philosophy of Modern era, which developed from Renaissance to praise and appreciate new things or ideas all the time cause people to spend and do things redundantly, work too much and also use too much to fulfill themselves. In the end we try to console ourselves by saying we’ve already help energy problem by fixing these tiny parts of the system.

Welcome to Woodside!

The garbage collection has been a little off these past two weeks because of the hurricane then labor day but luckily I found some pretty neat things! Not a lot of electronics but lots of furniture!


Garbage Hunt Woodside Style

Junk Hunt

Since i’m a big fan of riding my bicycle i decided to do the hunt on two wheels.
Some of the junk i have i found it a long time ago (the CO2 capsules). Right next to my apartment is a sort of dumpster where i can easily find metal and or electronics almost everyday. I’m especially excited about the scanners since i’m planning on doing my thesis this year on the amplification (and improvement) of barcode scanners.


Reading: Scrapyard Lessons

My first Scrapyard Challenge experience was last fall, when we did the MIDI workshop as part of our Interface Studio class.
I relate to the text in its entirety, specially about being intimidated at first, being a novice and not having any physical computing background.
I remember I went into the workshop not knowing what to expect, or how to hack anything, specially changing it into an instrument. The process began going through garbage seeking things that had metal and movable parts.  Then we made pile of things and everyone grabbed whatever they wanted to work with, not necessarily what you brought.   Once our team decided on what artifacts we were going to work with, the final piece emerged organically from our team’s work, imagination and problem solving.  The end result was very rewarding for us, and the non-judgmental environment really helped make it a great experience.
The “low-art” concept is key in the success of the work we will develop.  It is very rewarding to see that you are able to apply design concepts into repurposing “a thing” and make a prototype out of something that someone else discarded.  It is as if you are giving the artifact a second chance, after someone declared it good for nothing.  I believe the teachings from the workshop begin on the hackability of things and working with constraints; but it then extends to freedom in creativity and environment and social awareness.

Here’s a link to my blog on my first Scrapyard Challenge experience.

Junk hunt

After hurricane Irene, I moved to the new apartment in East Village around Ave B-C. This assignment gave me an opportunity to walk back home after school and also to look around my neighborhood. Normally every night I always see that people put black trash bags in front of their buildings but never looked closely what they were.

In the first couple days I didn’t find any electrical junk. One night, I found a vacuum cleaner in front of Thai restaurant. I remember people in the class discussing about bedbugs which made me not so sure if I should take this back home, since my new roommates are really conscious about germs and cleanliness. Luckily I met a Thai chef, very generous, and talked to him about this project. He suggested me to take just the core part of it and he knocked the dust out without any hesitation. I slowly put that core part of the vacuum in plastic bag. A little bit further from that restaurant, I found another huge television screen, but too heavy to carry back. After that just a few blocks before reaching home, I found another guitar game controller on some junk bags. The minimart around there kindly gave me a box to carry that guitar controller home.

A minute I show my roommates how I got those things, they told me if we had to do the bedbugs terminating, you would have to take responsibility for everything. Hence, I moved back to school and tried to hide those junks somewhere last minute before they closed the building. I realized how mysterious of the story behind those junks in the street and also issues behind them, which should be thought carefully.

One thing almost forgotten, I found a very cool CD shop, which remind me of the term ‘Dead Technology’.


E-junk Hunt

Thanks to this assignment I learned something about my town.  North Arlington, NJ residents are not to discard any electronic equipment on the garbage, or the sidewalk.  These artifacts must be disposed at 50 Disposal Road in North Arlington.  You can take it there yourself, or call the Town Hall’s sanitation department to arrange a pick-up Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm.  I’ve never disposed any large electronic artifact, and the few times I have upgraded anything, the old equipment usually still works, so I either give it away to a friend or donate it to Salvation Army.  Now, I know what to do in case something breaks.

My building has a designated area where we place our recyclables and garbage.  The super comes every morning to put it out on the sidewalk.  I guess she is the one that makes the call to sanitation every time someone leaves non-recyclable, and non-garbage type of things.  I’ve never get to see her, though.  This week nothing exciting happened in our garbage area, so nothing was collected from there.  Instead, I took a drive to 50 Disposal Road, where I have never been before and had no idea where it was.
The place is about a 5 minute car ride from my house.  I took a trip there on Thursday Sept. 1st at 1pm.  I had not idea what to expect and was not sure where I was going.  I followed the E-WASTE signs and arrived at a big container full of old TV sets. It’s a open space, and it does not have a pleasant smell.  Some cars were parked near a building that looked like a loading dock.  I realized that I could not reach inside the huge container so I went back home to get my steps.  Once I gain some height, I looked inside and grabbed what I knew I could carry and fit in my car: a couple circuits, a computer router, a keyboard, a Direct TV scanner.  I tried grabbing a Compaq monitor but couldn’t reach inside, I  also saw a large flat screen TV  (I can’t imagine how the owner felt when disposing it. I looks expensive). I ended up grabbing a tube TV set with a sticker that says “works” since it was the easiest to reach and pull without falling from the steps.  I also added the site to Foursquare.

Here is my map

Here are pictures documenting my findings and a video I made documenting my drive to 50 Disposal Road

Monday Sept 5th at 4pm
Today I checked my building’s garbage area and nothing else was disposed.  So, I went back to 50 Disposal Road to see if perhaps someone took advantage of the long weekend to do some cleaning.  And, I was right.  I noticed that more old TV sets were dumped and found two printers!  A very old one and a not so old one.  Both seem to be leaking toner.  The newer one doesn’t have the power supply cord but I grabbed it anyways, perhaps we can find an adaptor that fits, and see if it works.
I checked in using Foursquare again and now I’m the mayor at the E-waste site.  I also noticed the stench is gone, and so is the pond that was nearby. I guess the workers that arrived there on Thursday drained it out.  I added more pictures to the album.
I’m going to need help bringing up the printers and TV set to the classroom.

Week 1: Reading

Response to: Lessons from the scrapyard: creative uses of found materials within a workshop setting

One of the most interesting things to me about scrapyard challenge is how the class is going to be taught. I did not realize how hard it is to tech/learn skills such as hacking and circuit bending. This is another thing that makes the class so unique is the way the curriculum has to be laid out in order for the students to get the most out of the class.
The fact that each class has a set of rules and time limitation, gives the participant the feeling of continuous thought. This prevents people from overanalyzing what they are doing and to just jump into it.
Realizing the term Scrapyard is considered a “low-art” term brings a little humor into the situation since most of the objects we have been asked to bring in or I have seen being thrown away are expensive pieces of technology.

Response to: 7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives

I understand that E-Books can been seen as a “green solution” but the problem stills lays there, it’s a piece of technology and technology outdates rapidly. Even right now I can tell you E-Books are out of date and most people are using their ipads 2 (not one but two) to read books. What happens to this old E-Book? It probably got tossed in the garbage with all the original ipads when the ipad 2 was released. Do you really need to pay anywhere from $50-$900 for a device then an addition $10 for each book? Just because it’s technology doesn’t mean it’s green, when happens to that product when it’s out of date? Books still make sense to me, going to the library is free and easy, and they are also biodegradable.
The term vampire power is so clever. I have seen the advertisements on the subway for being green and I love the campaign! Speaking of the subway, mass transit is a big thing in NYC, it’s a great way to save money and get around without the hassle of driving. Matter of fact, being green helps you save.
After moving to NYC and having lived here for about a year, I find that I don’t like things laying around my apartment. I don’t really have a lot of space and like most people in the city, I’m not sure when I’ll be moving next. So why accumulate the junk? I always pack my lunch when going to work and carry a clothe bag in my purse in case I want to buy something.