Make multiples of something, 5 or more. The objects must be a multi-process piece, ie. I don’t want to see 5 things made solely on the laser cutter or 3D printers. Take note of your order of operations, tools, and techniques used. If you used any type of jig or unique setup, please document (if you built your own DIY jig, absolutely bring it in). Determine whether it is better to build one piece all the way through before starting the next, or perform step one to all pieces, then step 2, then…
I wanted to create 5 pieces that explore the idea of multiples as the beginning of capitalism: manufacturing and splitting the work processes into pieces that get executed by different workers laid the foundations for industrialization. The worker is removed from owning the whole manufacturing process and executes only one step of a multiprocess production setup. This loss of ownership of the process helped to foster constant consumerism.
The medium that is inevitably linked to this is the simple plastic bag that holds the consumer goods for a certain amount of time and is thrown away after been used once.
My multiple illustrates this planned obsolescence: I take used plastic bags, upcycle the top of the bag with expensive looking, organic materials and a fake brand logo to evoke a certain feel of a luxury item. The base of of the recycled bag is the same non-durable plastic. The top looks stable, the foundation and thin plastic main structure of the bag will not last long. It will break soon. There is no way to fix the bags, all the work for creating a stable item is rendered useless. The natural resources that are used for the top are wasted in a non responsible manner. Ultimately the user has to decide when to use, to "consume" this bag. Its obsolescence is planned, the user is forced to buy a new one soon.
I created a prototype first to test the functionality and see how far I could break up the production process in different steps. I came up with 6 main steps for fabricating the remaining four bags. Those steps were done for all parts of the series at once.
Step 1: Preparing The Wood
I used the bandsaw for cutting the top pieces (4 per piece) into 20 x 2 cm pieces.
After that I sanded the edges of the elements with the fine sanding machine. For the 3 smaller bags I sanded of 1 extra inch on each side of the elements for a better fit with the raw sanding machine.
The pieces were clamped together in pairs. Then I used the doweling jig to drill through both parts at once with a 5/16 drill bit creating two holes for each side of the bag topping.
Step 2: Preparing The Rope
I used a nylon rope that is covered with cotton and has a good organic feeling for the short straps that would hold the bag. I cut it into 8 pieces of 25 cm and tied a nod at each end.
Step 3: Preparing The Used Plastic Bags
I chose plastic bags from various shops and cut off the top handles to create a straight top end that could align with the wood.
Step 4: Preparing The Stenciled Logo
For the logo print I used the laser-cutter to cut out a negative of the letters with a piece of cardboard. This was placed on the side of one top panel per bag and stenciled using gold spray color underneath the painting vent.
Step 5: Glueing Rope, Plastic Bag and Wood Toppings
I put one piece of a pair of wood toppings on a flat surface and applied superglue (the only glue that would reliable glue plastic and wood) to the lower half of the wood. After that I placed the plastic bag roughly into the middle of the wooden piece so that it would cover its lower half over the entire length. I applied another layer of superglue on the upper half of the wood and the attached plastic, fit the rope into its holes and covered everything with the other half/side of the wooden topping. I repeated this step with all 8 wood toppings (2 for each bag).
Step 6: Clamping And Unclamping
To strengthen the connection between the wood, the sandwiched rope and plastic bag I clamped each top piece for about 30 minutes with 4 mini-clamps on each side.
Specs & Materials Used
- 5 used plastic bags from the trash
- 6mm 5-layer plywood: 5 x 4 pieces, 20 cm x 2 cm each
- 10mm diameter twisted cotton-rope with nylon core: 10 x 25cm each
- super-glue (Loctite)
- doweling jig, 5/16 wood drill bit
- raw and fine sanding machine