Resource Resistance


Max Vanatta


Max Vanatta

Every day we wake up, flop out of bed, and turn on the light, but of these three things, one is almost always the easiest. Flipping the light switch is almost effortless compared to the other two tasks. Why is that the case even when it has the largest global impact? In this studio students will look at everyday tasks like flipping a light switch to turning on the tap in order to  answer the question: what really happens when we perform everyday tasks?  Further, how can students drive behavioral change in our resource limited world?

Students will begin by looking at resource use in our daily lives and research the entire lifecycle of that product.  Where does the electricity come from? What powers that electrical plant? Where did that oil come from? Where does the water in our faucets come from? What did that water have to go through in order to become potable? Beyond the light switch and faucet, students will look at the gas pump, thermostat, cafeteria food, and more for analysis, innovative solutions, and behavior change.

Students will progress with a historic perspective.  How did it come to be that we are doing something so complex, activating a community scale electrical grid, from something so simple, a small plastic switch.  What important lessons from this history can we bring forward to better understand our tasks?  How can we break the cycles behind resource use?

Finally, students will design and implement devices which inspire change in resource usage through their deeper understanding of the resources usage.  While we will be primarily focused on how to implement these at the school level, the opportunities for student choice in where, and how these designs highlight our choices are endless.