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    Emily Carr Student Project on Water Usage


    (Photographs by William Cupit)

    Reader Comments (4)

    I'd like to know how the artist quantified "human dignity" as a measure of water consumption.
    April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIan Wojtowicz
    (sorry, i should add a few positive comments too.)

    It's good to be reminded that we live differently than others. I was shocked when I visited India to realize how much water I intuitively use to bathe, compared to the norm there. Not to mention the shock of cold water. In India water heaters are a luxury of the upper classes and something that a student traveller learns to live without.

    I'm glad that's up there and that others are adding graffitti to it. But I'd like to know how the artist imagines they can quantified "human dignity" as an absolute measure of water consumption.
    April 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIan Wojtowicz
    And how exactly does water fit into a two-dimensional object?
    April 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIan Wojtowicz
    Hello Dr. Ron Burnett,

    I am Ross Milne, a third year Communication design student responsible for the project which you have posted on your blog. First off, I'd like to take the time to thank you for making such a post and it excites me to know that others are taking notice and that dialogue (in whatever way) has been created by my humble project. I would also like to provide some background and perhaps reply to a few of your comments:

    The project was created as part of a third year Design workshop class with professor Clément Vincent. The project was premised on the fact that design often finds itself in a unique role between two distinct groups - most often, client and market. The question was asked: "If communication design's positioning is often used to sell products or move information, can the same positioning be used to elicit two very important aspects of human nature, namely, to think and to laugh." These became the objectives of all of the student's projects and the underlying criteria by which the projects would be evaluated.

    The course structure, the class dynamic and the dedication on behalf of Clément combined to make this class the most rewarding class I have ever been involved in and I assure you that every student project deserves a post on your blog.

    Regarding my specific project, my objective was to confront students, staff and tourists in a place where water consumption is very high. The public washroom lent itself well to this task and as such my project became about using the space in an assortment of ways so as to address a wide spectrum of issues surrounding the global water crisis.

    It was an ambitious project and I will be the first to say that it is unrefined in many ways. However, regarding the way I quantified "human dignity" I drew this information from a series of articles from UNICEF, WHO and numerous journals. In my research the term human dignity was used to mean the minimum amount of water required so as to assure that other basic human rights are met (I uncovered in my research that the basic human right to clean water underlies many other human rights.) For example, the average amount of water needed is roughly 75L per person per day for personal use and this value affects such things as the provition of adequate sanitation. This number is of course an average and varies depending on region.

    Regarding the comment "how exactly does water fit into a two-dimensional object?" I must admit that this is the biggest flaw in the project. The washroom installation was a second iteration in the project and during the transition from one medium to the other some of the details of the communication fell by the wayside. I tried to make it clear in my project that these were simply relative sizes intended to communicate a disparity of water access through visual means. I agree that the project could have benefited from additional layers of information and these could have served to inform this aspect of the project more. The sizes of each square were calculated based on the volumetric consumption of water in each region per capita per day. These were then sized according to the central figure, the highly contentious (and deservedly so) human dignity square.

    I realize this is long so I should end now. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or comments. I encourage you to go see a selection of other student work from the same class on display until May 8th at the Library Square pub. Lastly, I will gladly send you some better photos if you would like.

    I appreciate your comments and hope to see more soon,

    April 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRoss Milne

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