How Design Led to Overconsumption

Formafantasma spent the last few years reckoning with design’s role in the production of more and more objects and more and more waste. They’ve interviewed recyclers, activists, policymakers, and other experts and produced a series of videos, visualizations, and physical objects based on their research.

Tech companies are driving this process by developing components that are either proprietary, unfixable, or un-recyclable. As phones have gotten thinner, companies have started putting them together with glue instead of screws, further complicating recycling. The competition for thinner, better, and newer is heralding a second-coming of colonialism throughout the world, Ore Streams concludes. Thanks to e-waste, the process of colonial exploitation is repeating itself, the narrator explains: “Developing countries are exploited twice, first for raw materials, then for dumping grounds.”

March 10, 2019