THE FLIPSIDE: TRASH TO TREASURE

Lovia is showcasing at Helsinki Design Week main exhibition.
The question we want to ask you is: What is trash?

“I became aware that for me as Lovia's designer it is self-evident that all material has value, be it new, used or excess. But when did I start to think like this and what are these moments of awareness in everyday life for others? In my opinion trash is merely something man has discarded as used, and the matter has been left behind. But when and how does the perspective shift? And can we, as a society, even afford trash? - Outi Korpilaakso

The main exhibition installation at Erottaja2 in Helsinki Design Week focuses on different materials that are often defined as trash. Come and examine your own relationship with trash and create the installation together.

Scroll down to discover the exhibition video gallery and trash statement
lovia_theflipside_banner

THE FLIPSIDE: TRASH TO TREASURE

Lovia is showcasing at Helsinki Design Week main exhibition.
The question we want to ask you is: What is trash?
lovia_theflipside_banner

“I became aware that for me as Lovia's designer it is self-evident that all material has value, be it new, used or excess. But when did I start to think like this and what are these moments of awareness in everyday life for others? In my opinion trash is merely something man has discarded as used, and the matter has been left behind. But when and how does the perspective shift? And can we, as a society, even afford trash? - Outi Korpilaakso

The main exhibition installation at Erottaja2 in Helsinki Design Week focuses on different materials that are often defined as trash. Come and examine your own relationship with trash and create the installation together.

Scroll down to discover the exhibition video gallery and trash statement

THE FLIPSIDE III: TRASH TO TREASURE

STATEMENT AND VIDEO GALLERY

Can we afford trash?
We asked people of different background and age a simple question: What is trash? There is no universal definition for trash, but rather it is a matter of subjective view. Still, the question caused a sense of uncertainty for many. Several respondents felt that their answer may be incorrect, even condemning. Like many other societal discussions today, the issue of trash seems to be polarised to either right or wrong answers. We want to examine who holds the responsibility of trash and its definition. Is the definer the individual, the waste industry, or society? What is trash - and can we as a society afford it?

Responsibility outsourced

Trash is present in our everyday lives on many levels, from the kitchen to public trash bins and in the purchases we make that cause waste even before we ever lay eyes on the end product. However, in our modern western society waste management has been effectively outsourced to municipalities. The Waste Act forbids us from leaving items, machines or substances that may cause uncleanliness, landscape unattractiveness, diminished comfort, or danger or harm for man or animal, into the environment. We abide by this and neatly do our part, closing the lid of the bin as we go - and so do many others in countries around the globe. Who is responsible for the fact that we still are drowning in trash?

Often a sense of powerlessness marks the individual’s western climate context, as such a large part of waste and emission issues are allocated to less developed countries. However, as the developing world is no longer ready to silently carry the excrement of our welfare, our apparent civilisation is starting to show cracks. Last year China announced that they were closing down the doors for the global trash rally they were hosting. The western countries would have to come up with another solution for their hundreds of thousands of tonnes of garbage. As a consequence of this, the trash sorting was moved from China to other countries in Far East Asia, and the show could go on again at the cost of local welfare.

We are used to frown upon the ways of the world, but the truth is that as global consumers we take a stand on many things without even noticing. The Amazon is not burned down so that Brazilians could eat, nor are the rivers of India turning indigo blue so that locals there could wear the clothes they manufacture. The wealthy consumers of the developed world dictate the actions in areas where financial distress is the most serious. Facing accountability seems to be so difficult, that we would rather entertain the thought of shipping our trash into outer space than consider reducing our consumption. It is time to see the full picture of our actions and fully realise that we can’t shift responsibility by outsourcing it onto someone else’s shoulders. We are in need of some serious deliberation to together come up with a solution on how to stop producing trash altogether, instead of picking out the weakest links of our society to bare this responsibility.

 

Can trash be natural?

In natural ecosystems everything that is useless for one organism, is vital for another. This is how the resources cycle in nature. For long we were a part of this ecosystem, until we learned to modify nature’s resources in a way that created a new kind of trash. Trash, that could capture resources into forms other organisms can’t utilise. By ending up in the wrong place even viable material gets stuck in our system, without the opportunity to give new life.

Our planet’s resources haven't significantly increased in mass during our history. The mountain of matter, however, has risen alongside human evolution from the first utility articles all the way to today’s portable watermelon coolers and water bottles reminding us to drink. The equation is simple. The more we bind natural resources into the things we own without an opportunity to recycle them, the less nature has possibilities to spur on new life. Every resource taken out of its natural cycle is a kind of debt, one that we should be able to pay back. Now we are in a situation where we keep taking resources from nature and giving back unusable trash, that can no longer give birth to new life but only prevent it.

 

The rebirth of welfare

We are living an era where a new definition of welfare is forming. The status symbol of success is no longer the highest mountain of things but rather finding balance with nature. The individual’s right to act according to their desire has long been emphasised in the Western society, but balance also requires taking responsibility. Only when we see wellbeing from a new perspective, can we have an authentic desire to seek balance. Moving away from the old way of thinking and consuming no longer feels like we’re giving something up. When we have less, individual things are held to higher regard. The trash we have created is the cost of this era of abundance, and it's time to make it history.

Climate change can easily cause anxiety as according to research it poses a clear threat. At its worst anxiety is paralysing, keeping us from acting. But by seeing the significance of our own personal choices and actions we can turn the sense of powerlessness into hope. Our society is made up of individuals and communally created hope enables us to act both alone and together. Now it is important to take a step back. We need to think where the trash is created and what kind of future our actions support, in order to radically reduce it. Together we can rediscover the respect towards the circle of life.

Currently the debt we’ve taken out is greater than the available natural resources, but we still have time to change course. The less we take and the more material and resources we release back into the natural cycle, the more of its riches our globe has to offer us in the future. The first step towards balance is decreasing consumption. Hope is built up of small deeds, and paying back can begin today.

When we find our way back to being a part of the circle of life, where a resource one abandons is in fact a treasure for another, can we have a chance at long-lasting wellbeing.

Take part in the conversation. Share your personal view on Instagram with #trashrevolution. By joining forces in conversation we can expand our understanding and turn trash into treasure.

THE FLIPSIDE I: TRASH TO TREASURE at HDW Room with a View

What makes us view valuable material as trash? The Flipside: Trash to Treasure -installation takes us on a journey to examine material from different perspectives and to reflect what really is the definition of trash?

Helsinki Design Week 5.-15.9.2019
Erottaja2, Erottajankatu 2
Main exhibition Room with a View, 4th floor
Tue - Sun 11 - 19

THE FLIPSIDE II: TRASH TO TREASURE AT CONCEPT SHOWROOM

The second part of the installation will be exhibited at Lovia Concept Showroom. he showroom installation creates a network of ideas, where you have the opportunity to express your feelings or thoughts on the future of trash. Open with extended hours during  5.-15.9.:

Mon 9.9. - Wed 11.9. 11-18
Thu 12.9. - Fri 13.9. 11-19
Sat 14.9. 11-16
Fredrikinkatu 18, Helsinki

Massive thanks to everyone involved in making the installation happen:

Lovia team Outi Korpilaakso, Ada Aadeli, Anna Lehtola, Emmi Nguyen, Marianna Rahunen, Taru Mellin, Ulla Haverinen and Veijo Haverinen
Carpenter Wili Vuorinen, assisting Joonas Korpilaakso
Metal works Paja & Bureau, Nino Hynninen
Assisting installation curating Verna Kovanen
Installation fixtures Designmuseo & museomestari Ville Särmä
Lighting LUO-Light
Soundtrack Victoria Trunova
Sound system Aurelia
Concept images Sara Lehtomaa

Lovia love letter for revolutionisers

Plant a tree by joining the community