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Synthesis of where I am in the process of my personal project

This year I am working mainly on the concept of borders and to find reflections tools to break borders.

During the first semester my goal was to create a tool to reflect on the physical and psychological borders. More generally, reflect on our place within our society, mankind and environment. Developing empathy was one of the avenue worth exploring. This semester I would like to reflect on the duty we have in this environment.

I will stay in he same topic : break the psychological border and the fact that we tend to stay in our confort zone, however, this time I would like to break the borders we constructed between us and the planet. And can we develop empathy toward the planet ?

I would like to foster reflections on the fact that we are part of a whole, on the long term consequences as well as the butterfly effect of our actions/inaction/behaviour, to raise awareness of our right, duty and power as an individual to act for a greater good and a better future. Our luck, and because we are lucky how other people are unlucky.

Why this topic : because we are at a turning point of what the earth can provide, if everyone was living like in western Europe we will need 2.5 planets, like in the us it would be 4.1 planet. Personally I am using 2.1 planets, which is pretty bad. And because I am using this much I am are responsible for the fact that 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water? It is just a fractions of very deep questions, worth a thought. The good thing is that we still have a choice to educate ourselves to act and behave in a more sustainable manner and for a equity world.

My goal would be to encourage people to find a harmonious and sustainable relationship with the planet and push reflection on our current relationship with it.


The first stage in my research process is a reflection on how we occupy our time nowadays, and the questions of our habits and routines… and find out if there is still time for reflection, and where are these in-between moments. My goal is not to  remove them, they are already rare and important to keep, the ideas is more how to create more. I created these little cards where people are asked for 2 consecutive days to colours their time line, and where they the action. For each day they can propose an alternative day. Asking the question at the end of the day what I would have done differently.

One of my surprise when I looked at the results I got so far is that most people doesn’t have any moment when they do nothing. Also the action of reading appear in what they wish to do, but almost anyone find the time to read anymore, or they favour another activity. I want to compare if the fact of asking an alternative day, influenced the second day.

In the comments, some people pointed out that it was interesting to get the opportunity to reflect and think about what we actually do in our days and that is it hard to change bad habits. Someone said that it is difficult to track what we do, but also remember. We are so much in the flow of our day that we don’t even realise what we do. The data I put at the back doesn’t seems to affect the alternative days, as I didn’t get any comment on that.

I will conduct a complete analyse of the results next week.

The second stage was to think about the jobs which involve a lot of waiting, with ‘fallow time’ period. How do they occupy their time, when there is ‘nothing’ to do ? Like taxi driver, lollypops lady… and lifeguard. I know this last one particularly  well as it was my student job for 8 years. In the mind of people, it is easy you just spend your days waiting. It is true for the last part, you wait a lot but it is not easy. Your body is in pause, but you have to fight to not put your mind in pause too, as you have to constantly be alert to detect if someone need help; the noise is also very tiring. Moreover, most of the interventions are preventives. It is like ‘Minority report’ you alert or even punish before something happen, trying to visualise what could happen in the future, preventing potential accident to happen. You might think: Ok, but what is the link with the topic.

As the Lifeguard do, should we all keep an eye, not on people swimming, but on the planet and prevent disaster ?  Could we all become PLANETguard. The question is how to get people to watch and prevent the disaster ?

earth_planet guard

What I have done so far is ask my college in France to answer 10 open questions, like I would have done in an interview, but by sending a form it allow me for a first stage to get more answer from more people, with taking little of their time instead of 1 hour.

The questions are around the way they invigilate the swimming pool, how they manage to stay focussed, if they choose to prevent or wait for a problem to happen, and how they detect that something bad could happen. Finally I ask if they needed a tool or an invention to help them to do a better job. In the answers I had so far, they insist a lot on the prevention, someone even say that it is a bit like being a voyeur. Concentration comes with experience because you can detect problem before they arrive, they develop a 6th sense.  One person told me that first she use prevention but if the person doesn’t care she wait for the problem to happen so the public take consciousness of the risk. To do your job well they recommend to move, be in action, fight agains monotony, and prevention is the key word. The would suggest camera under the water, give a better education to the people, and a good one is create bionics ears to detect calls for help.

I will conduct a complete analyse of the results and what I can gain from them next week.

chaise et cameraFinally I ask them to attach a camera to the chair from where they work to film their face, to analyse the face and the method form another point of view (not my internal one). I got a video, unfortunately I might not be able to do a good thing with it as they could instal it in one of the swimming pool where there is not a lot of people, I only have 2 persons, and you feel that there is no one to look after almost.

I still have no clue of what I will do, I will keep seeking.