Posts Tagged ‘business’

The Lightbulb Conspiracy, aka Pyramids of Waste, a documentary on planned obsolescence

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

lightbulb conspiracy - planned obsolescence of consumer products

The practice of planned obsolescence of consumer products includes Apple computers, as you’ll see if you watch the whole film. As a designer who attempts to make things that last, both in their material content and workmanship, the planned failure of other design objects is a slap in the face.

I’m conducting an experiment in which I buy nothing that is designed to fail. I recognize this may be possible only for the very rich. Is the Tesla electric car designed to fail?

From Top Documentary Films:

Planned Obsolescence is the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand.
As a magazine for advertisers succinctly puts it: The article that refuses to wear out is a tragedy of business – and a tragedy for the modern growth society which relies on an ever-accelerating cycle of production, consumption and throwing away.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers.

This film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US to find witnesses of a business practice which has become the basis of the modern economy, and brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste.

Art and cooperatives in the economy

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

Elvy del Bianco on art and cooperatives

Photo by Dan Toulgoet , Vancouver Courier – Elvy Del Bianco presents rare films shot in Vancouver between 1964 and 1988 at the Waldorf Hotel in 2011.

This is one of the more interesting short talks I’ve listened to, and I’m posting it here in the hope that it gets wider distribution. It was presented by Elvy Del Bianco, a researcher with major BC credit union VanCity, itself a cooperative. Del Bianco’s position at VanCity is quite unique; his job is to research the relationship between arts and innovation and promote a cooperative business model in an attempt to foster social capital locally. What is social capital? Well, the short answer is that it’s the various benefits of cooperation. Del Bianco explains using the model of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, one of the most profitable in the EU thanks to its “lego economics” in which smaller businesses (balsamic vinegar, parmesan, even Ferrari) combine resources to leverage economic power. Culture both plays a role in and benefits from this model. It is also interesting to note that the region is not just wealthy but is one of the most democratic anywhere, with a small income gap in what is historically a left-wing Italian heartland with a long history of employee-owned companies.

Below is Del Bianco’s 6-minute talk at Vancouver’s Pecha Kucha, and it’s well worth watching no matter where you live. The audio is a little challenging at points, and as I found out when I spoke at Pecha Kucha, you have to speak quickly if you want to fit complex ideas into a 6 minute spiel. But it’s an extremely interesting talk. His comments the challenges facing arts and culture in Vancouver are interesting; he talks about condo development speculation driving unaffordability, as well as the massive, unique-in-Canada massive cuts to cultural investment on the part of BC’s provincial government.

Bianco is himself an artist, having worked many years as an actor after training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He grew up in East Vancouver.

Rio Vista, California, sans rio or vista

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

rio-vista-kalifornien-getty

Rio Vista housing development, California. From blog.zeit.de.