237.130 Week 11 – Publishable Blog Post

What do I want to say?

Being a global citizen means an awareness and care for issues and being able to see wider implications for everyone, as well as different points of view. In terms of my project, the purpose is to make people aware of the effects of their own small, seemingly insignificant actions on the lives of others.

Wealthy nations need to curb the amount of food being wasted after production – within supermarkets and in the home. We need to be able to feed 9 billion people by 2050 and this will be possible if we can curb waste at all points in the production process. GMOs cannot fix all of our problems and theres a simpler fix. At the moment, around 25-50% of all food is wasted, globally. We do not need to produce more, but waste less to feed more.

Why do we have such an imbalance? US imports 400% of necessary amount of food and wastes around 30-40% of that, while 795 million people remain hungry.

Use of sculpture – makes the audience think about symbolism of objects within the piece. Use Michael parekowhai as an example – ambiguous and grand approach to which the viewer brings their own experiences and eyes. Makes people think.


237.130 Week 12/13 – Final Blog Post


We produce enough food calories to feed every single person on this earth (MIT). Yet, 795 million people do not have enough food (World Food Programme), because so much is wasted. In New Zealand we throw away enough food annually to feed Dunedin for 2 years (Love Food Hate Waste NZ). This is a common trend in wealthy countries, and globally between 25-50% of all food is wasted (MIT). The waste goes further than just the food; in each bite is the labour, land, water and CO2 emissions associated with growing and throwing away that food. 9 Billion people are expected to inhabit this earth by 2050 (MIT), while the distribution of farmable land is expected to drop significantly around Africa, India, Australia and the Caribbean (F.A.O 10). Climate change will create a future where croppable land is lessened, livestock mortality rates increase, droughts are rampant and water is scarce (F.A.O. 10). Food security will suffer, particularly in underdeveloped nations. Reducing world hunger in the coming years is going to require us to reduce consumption and waste.

My work essentially focuses on the imbalance of food distribution in the world, and the unnecessary wastage by wealthy countries that can be easily fixed. The concept of the sculpture is based upon the Statue of Liberty; it mimics the upholding of certain values, but replaces the upholding of liberty with the control of food and resources. The figure is representative of wealthy nations. I also looked at Michael Parekowhai’s work, Te Ao Hurihuri, as an example of how sculpture can work symbolically. By using the elephant as a symbol, it creates an ambiguity in the work and allows the viewer to bring their own assumptions to the symbols, and then have to question those against what the work is saying. I used this idea in my own work through the use of cows to represent food and the immense resources behind it; the meat and dairy industry has become a symbol for the West’s food and resource control since documentaries like Cowspiracy (2014) revealed the water, land and carbon footprint behind beef and dairy. The other hand, holding water, represents the interconnected nature of food waste and water waste, and the importance of curbing this waste as climate change approaches and the potential for drought increases. With this work I aimed to make people see and think on their own terms – to bring their own thoughts to what was in front of them and have to read and think about the work and what it represents and sculpture was a good way to do this. It also gives a material, tangible front to an issue people often ignore; it forces them to confront it.

This project has a purpose; being a global citizen (Mirzoeff 289), means we must find ways to represent ourselves (Mirzoeff 293). It means being aware of our own world, of many points of view, and being able to represent our values. This often occurs through ‘visual activism’ (Mirzoeff 289), and uses a growing visual culture to incite change. In a world where most are connected it is hard to distance yourself from others. Working to see the world differently, and change the world is key to being a global citizen, and making sure the world is being represented and changed the way we want it to be.

Works Cited

    1. Mission 2014: Feeding the World. Inadequate Food Distribution Systems. Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT) 2014. Web 23/05/2016.
    2. WFP. Hunger Statistics. World Food Programme, 2016. Web.  
    3. Food Waste. Love Food Hate Waste NZ 2016. Website.
    4. FAO. Coping with climate change – the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture. Rome 2015. Web 19/05/2016.
    5. Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “Afterword”. How to See the World. London, Pelican 2015. 289-298. Print.




237.130 Week 12 – Mirzoeff Reading Notes

“For many artists, academics and others who see themselves as visual activists, visual culture is a way to forms of change.”  (289) – There is an increasing trend towards activism employing visual culture to incite change.

“What does it mean to be seen to be a citizen in this global era? Who represents us at local and national levels in a globalized society?” (290)

“How do we represent ourselves, visually and politically?” (291). – Simultaneously, revolutions began around representation visually, in the media and entertainment industries, and politically, as the world globalized.

“For what has become clear is that the implication of ‘they do not represent us’ (in all senses of that term) is that we must find ways to represent ourselves. Visual activism, from the selfie to the projection of a new concept of the ‘people’, and the necessity of seeing the Anthropocene, is now engaged in trying to make that change.”  (293). – Being a global citizen, then, is being able to represent yourself, stand up for what you believe, and take action against goveernments and actions that ‘do not represent us’. It is having an awareness about the world, and the knowledge to do something about it or recognize other peoples’ actions.

“Grace Lee Boggs begins every meeting with a question: ‘What time is it on the clock of the world?’.” (293) – The need to think globally and account for all people. Particularly important considering my issue – food waste does not just effect yourself, but everyone. When that food could be used for someone else, or the land for cows could feed locals. It’s about realising the supply chain and the resources and labour and true cost of the food we eat.

“Visionary organizing is a way of thinking about how we might use our creative energies to better ends than cutting jobs and increasing profits. It is another form of visual activism. People around the world are coming to similar conclusions and finding new ways to engage with how to imagine change.” (295)

“We can actively use visual culture to create new self-images, new ways to see and be seen, and new ways to see the world.”



237.130 Week 12 – In-Depth Artist Analysis

Parekowhai, Michael. Te Ao Hurihuri. 2009. 3600 x 2400 x 2250mm. Fibreglass, aluminium, automotive paint. 

Michael Parekowhai, in his work, Te Ao Hurihuri employs sculpture to symbolise a concept and make the viewer think about something. He uses object/subject, the elephant as a symbol in itself, as well as its positioning, colour, title. Elephants are often used a symbol for colonization, a work animal, or else commonly known by the idiom “the elephant in the room”. By using a symbol, like the elephant or the book end, Parekowhai shows the viewer something that they can bring their own interpretation to the work, and rather than telling the viewer what to think, the viewer is made to think for themselves and question what they would normally assume about a work, or an idea within society. The title as well places an idea in the readers mind; Te Ao Hurihuri refers to the idea that the world turns slowly. We get a feeling that the world has been tipped on its head, which leads to conotations of the changing world, and globalization. I think sculpture is a good way to express a concept, and get people thinking, rather than just giving them the facts. Displaying it in a gallery has good and bad consequences, though. The audience at galleries is select, and so the work is not understandable or accessible to everyone, but it gives the work a feeling of grandness, and of importance. The subject/issue should speak to the intended audience.

237.130 Week 11 – Research

Bread Tables by Studio Rygalik 2012.


Iverson, Breuk and Mclaughlin, Jan. Offal. 2003.

rubbish from 18 different galleries was compiled and placed under resin. waste across different areas, classes, etc.

PROBLEM  I don’t actually want to deal with food waste – I hate everything about rubbish.

Pichler, Klaus. One Third. 

Parekowhai, Michael. Te Ao Hurihuri. 2011. 

237.130 Week 11 – Glossary

Agency is taking action to produce a certain outcome. In art, agency is making work that takes action itself or moves people to take action. I would like to incorporate this into my work – rather than just making something that “makes people aware”, I would rather make something that helps the cause or takes action in itself. But how do I do this???

Social Responsibility is the notion that every person has a responsibility within society to make sure the society is fair and livable for all. It means being aware of how you are impacting society and taking action to make it better.

As defined by wikipedia, Transformative learning is the process of “perspective transformation”, which has three dimensions: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle). Similarly, we can take Transformative Practices to mean practices that actively engage in trying to change perspective/thinking and incite action to change the world.

237.130 Week 10 – Focus Question

The question that best encompasses my focus is: Why is there such an imbalance in food distribution in the world, and how can we change it? The fact is, we have more than enough food to feed the world, but because of waste and uneven distribution of resources, we still have almost 800 million undernourished people on the earth. This number is only going to grow and the communities’ ability to grow their own food is only going to diminish in the face of climate change. Although GM crops are a viable solution to some of our problems, the developed world cannot rely on this, and seriously needs to curb the amount of unnecessary waste we produce, putting a massive strain on hungry in the developing world.

237.130 A3 Research

Inadequate Food Distribution Systems http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/mission2014/problems/inadequate-food-distribution-systems 

Seems like a viable source from a non-profit, student-run education forum. It is cited, and published under MIT, therefore is most likely trustworthy as a source.

“The amount of food calories being produced fulfills and exceeds the minimum amount needed per person. However, because of waste and loss, the amount of food calories available for consumption falls short of that minimum.”
“The main problems with the current distribution system are the lack of markets, the inadequacy of transportation to markets, and the inability to afford the costs of production and consumption.”
“It is estimated that 25%-50% of all food produced is wasted.  In India about 7% annually of grain and 30% of fruit and vegetables produced are wasted due to lack of proper storage systems (Murthy, 2010).”
“In developed nations, the governments often heavily subsidize the agricultural industry to make it economically viable. However, because of the heavier budget constraints on developing countries, they fail to alleviate this production burden. Therefore, even with a large production of food, rampant hunger still exists because of the inability to purchase it.” 
“The root causes of poor distribution include the lack of infrastructure such as markets and transportation routes, unsustainable prices driven by corruption and waste, inefficiency in markets,  and poverty.”

Genetically Modified Crops – http://12.000.scripts.mit.edu/mission2014/genetically-modified-crops

“The efficiency of land use is a significant issue: by 2050, the global population is expected to rise above 9 billion, and the existing amount of arable land is expected to decrease significantly due to anthropogenic climate change and urbanization (FAO).”
“If everyone in the world used as much land per person as the average United States citizen, we “would need four Earths” to sustain ourselves (Cribb).”
“Consequently, conserving land to produce more food is a necessity for any long term plan. Biotechnology firms claim that transgenic crops promise more food with less land. GMO crops have been found to increase yields, with a 10 percent change to a genetically modified herbicide tolerant crop yielding a roughly 1.7 percent increase in productivity (USDA). Biotechnology companies state that such varieties of crops will improve the livelihood of farmers around the world (Cummins).”  
The benefits of using GMOs is clear in terms of the growing population but I think that in today’s society we cannot just rely on the use of GMOs in future, we need to curb our waste problem as well. 
“GM pesticide-producing crops are engineered to produce Bt toxins, a crystal protein naturally synthesized by the bacterium bacillus thuringiensis. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that these toxins do not activate in the human gut, and pose no risk to human health (EPA).”
“Although Bt is lethal to many insects, multiple scientific studies have found them to be harmless to wild mammals, birds, pets, and humans; Bt endotoxins may as well be considered “biopesticides” (Sharma, 2010).”
“The European corn borer, a widespread crop pest, claims 7 percent of the world’s corn supply each year. Use of Bt corn has saved US farmers in Iowa and Nebraska alone up to 1.7 billion dollars in fighting this pest over the past 14 years, when compared to non-Bt variants (Hutchinson).”
“Spanish farmers who have implemented Bt maize have found a 10 percent increase in yields, with up to 20 percent increases in borer-infested areas (Europa).”
“Some estimates indicate that if “50% of maize, oil seed rape, sugar beet, and cotton grown in the EU were GM varieties, pesticide in the EU/year would decrease by 14.5 million kg of formulated product”, and “there would be a reduction of 7.5 million hectares sprayed, which would save 20.5 million liters of diesel and result in a reduction of approximately 73,000 tons of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere” (Phipps).”
“Biotechnology today is largely driven by agricultural corporations such as Monsanto, whose seeds are expensive to poorer farmers (Ho). But GMOs may increase land productivity in Africa, where 49 percent of soil is heavily degraded (Terrafrica). They could be engineered to endure harsher conditions and be less susceptible to climate changes such as drought, a leading cause of food insecurity in Africa. Certain types of native crops may be engineered to increase yields. This all might be done in the future, but it has not been done yet. Additionally, GMOs still represent too many unknowns to be a solid basis for a plan to benefit third world farmers.”
“The most condemning research done on such organisms is the work of renowned scientist Arpad Pusztai, who found evidence of intestinal damage caused by genetically modified potatoes (Randerson). His funding was suspended for his publication of preliminary results, and therefore the study was never completed (Randerson). However, numerous later studies found that GM crops that have passed existing safety reviews are not harmful to human health (Academic review, AFNZA).”
“Cross-pollination with the wild type of GM species may lead to genetic contamination of the wild type, which could alter local ecosystems. Genes are difficult to control, and wild types of certain plants have been found to contain transgenic genes.”
“However, cross-pollination can be minimized through measures such as buffer zones between GMO and non-GMO fields, as well as careful field planning (GMO-compass); the problem with cross-pollination may be minimized with proper planning and oversight.”
“Bt expressed in transgenic organisms is also toxic to a variety of helpful insects, including natural pollinators and pest predators. Monarch butterflies, a chief pollinator in North America, are highly susceptible to Bt poisoning, and will occasionally feed on corn plants (Pimentel).”
“The introduction of Bt crops has also led to the rise of secondary non-target pests as major scourges.”
“The introduction of such herbicide tolerant plants at first decreased herbicide use, but afterwards increased its usage and scope. Weeds have become more and more resistant to herbicides, prompting farmers to use a wider variety and larger quantity of them (Lim).”
“The influence of agricultural corporate giants on the availability of GM seeds may lead to farmer exploitation.”
Until “fit-for-the-purpose” transgenic seeds are available for distribution to farmers without threatening them with a cycle of debt, transgenic seeds represent a step away from greater food security in the Third World.”

Fraser, Evan. The Need For More Equitable Food Distribution. Feeding Nine Billion, 2014. Web. https://feedingninebillion.com/video/need-more-equitable-food-distribution

“The US uses about 40% of its corn for ethanol[7] we have a conflict of “food versus fuel”[8] [9]and more food would be eaten if the US dropped this policy. But many disagree. For instance, producing ethanol only uses the sugar in the corn and leaves protein rich by-products that are fed to animals[10]. So it is not as if these grains, the vast majority of which would have been used for livestock anyways, have been taken out of the food system.” 

Hunger Statistics. World Food Programme, 2016. https://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats

“Some 795 million people in the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy active life. That’s about one in nine people on earth.”
“The vast majority of the world’s hungry people live in developing countries, where 12.9 percent of the population is undernourished.”
“If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.”

Royte, Elizabeth. How ‘Ugly’ Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger. National Geographic, 2016. Web Article. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2016/03/global-food-waste-statistics/

“Every year some six billion pounds of U.S. fruits and vegetables go unharvested or unsold, often for aesthetic reasons.”
Finke, Brian. National Geographic, 2016.
“In developing nations much is lost postharvest for lack of adequate storage facilities, good roads, and refrigeration. In comparison, developed nations waste more food farther down the supply chain, when retailers order, serve, or display too much and when consumers ignore leftovers in the back of the fridge or toss perishables before they’ve expired.”
“Wasting food takes an environmental toll as well. Producing food that no one eats—whether sausages or snickerdoodles—also squanders the water, fertilizer, pesticides, seeds, fuel, and land needed to grow it.” 
Globally a year’s production of uneaten food guzzles as much water as the entire annual flow of the Volga, Europe’s most voluminous river. Growing the 133 billion pounds of food that retailers and consumers discard in the United States annually slurps the equivalent of more than 70 times the amount of oil lost in the Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon disaster, according to American Wasteland author Jonathan Bloom. These staggering numbers don’t even include the losses from farms, fishing vessels, and slaughterhouses. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the U.S.”
“Feeding the scraps to nonruminant animals, such as pigs, recycles their nutrients and eliminates some of the methane that food would generate in a landfill.”
“With governments fretting over how to feed more than nine billion people by 2050, a dominant narrative calls for increasing global food production by 70 to 100 percent. But agriculture already represents one of the greatest threats to planetary health. It is responsible for 70 percent of the planet’s freshwater withdrawals, 80 percent of the world’s tropical and subtropical deforestation, and 30 to 35 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.” 
“As the population grows and emerging economies develop a taste for meat and dairy products, which require huge inputs of grain and other resources for relatively little caloric gain, this toll will worsen. But converting more wildlands to farm fields may not be necessary, some experts say. If we slash waste, change our diet to eat less meat and dairy, divert fewer food crops to biofuels, and boost yields on underperforming acres, we may be able to feed more than nine billion people a healthy diet without trashing more rain forests, plowing up more prairies, or wiping out more wetlands.”
Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s – ““Hunger and wasted food,” Rauch says, “are two problems that can have one solution.””

Smith, Roff. How Reducing Food Waste Could Ease Climate Change. National Geographic 2015. Web. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150122-food-waste-climate-change-hunger/

“Workers harvest celery in Greenfield, California. The energy that goes into the production, harvest, transportation, and packaging of wasted food produces more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.
“The dividends of avoiding food waste can be historic. We produce enough food to feed everyone on our planet today and the 2.5 billion more people to come in the next 35 years. We have to waste less to feed more. Farming already uses 38 percent of our ice-free land, compared to just 2 percent for cities, and uses 70 percent of our fresh water. We can’t keep growing more food, and continuing to waste as much, to feed more people. The environmental dividends are no less significant: lower climate emissions from a major source and more water efficiency to combat growing water scarcity.
We have to think differently. We can’t take today’s sophisticated refrigerated truck-trailer systems available in the U.S. and Europe and expect they can be immediately adopted in emerging countries. In many cases, the roads in these countries can’t accommodate large truck systems, the technical skill is not yet present to support the systems, and the economy can’t yet afford the systems. So we have to scale the technology to the local needs—smaller systems, fewer features, more affordable.”


237.130 Week 10 – Glossary

Visual Activism is a form of activism that employs visual culture to create and disseminate artworks, and incite change. It requires an audience that is adept at analysing images, and sharing them.

Global Citizenship is the notion that the individual is apart of a greater whole, and that all issues are interconnected and important. It requires a change in thinking that is passionate and caring about the rest of the world.

Change Agents make people think. It could be artworks, people, organisations, movements, etc. They cause a change in thinking, and hopefully incite action.

Cultural Critics are people that are able to see the injustices or ideologies working within our society, and comment on them. Cultural critics can be anyone, and in any form. It just requires looking at things subjectively and questioning your worldview.

Protest is contesting something that is happening or present. It means questioning the ethics behind something, and taking action against it, in whatever form that may take.

Resistance is a form of protest. To resist is to say that something is unwanted, and taking action to change that.


237.130 A3 Research

FAO. Coping with climate change – the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture. Rome 2015. Web 19/05/2016. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3866e.pdf

Climate change will cause shifts in the distribution of land areas suitable for the cultivation of a wide range of crops. Studies indicate a general trend towards the loss of cropping areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, India and northern Australia, and gain in the northern United States of America, Canada and most of Europe. Although farmers have always adapted their cropping systems to adverse environmental conditions, the speed and complexity of climate change pose problems on an unprecedented scale. Without adaptation and mitigation, climate change is predicted to negatively affect the production of the world’s major crops in both tropical and temperate regions. There is evidence that climate change has already negatively affected wheat and maize yields in many regions. Climate change will also create problems for the livestock sector. Heat stress, for example, reduces animals’ appetites, production and fertility, and increases mortality rates. Feed supplies may be affected both locally (e.g. loss of grazing land because of drought) and globally (e.g. rising grain prices). Animals’ water requirements increase with temperature, but in many places climate change is likely to mean that water becomes scarcer and supplies become more unpredictable.
“Potential consequences include asynchrony between crop flowering and the presence of pollinators, and the spread of favourable conditions for invasive alien species, pests and parasites. As ecosystems change, the distribution and abundance of disease vectors are likely to be affected, with consequences for the epidemiology of many crop and livestock diseases.
It is vital that the genetic diversity needed to adapt agriculture and food production to future changes is not lost because of neglect in the present.
“In crop production, maintaining genetic diversity has long been an essential element of strategies to reduce the effects of crop diseases and abiotic stresses such as drought. While it is difficult to predict the precise effects that climate change will have on the distribution and severity of diseases and unfavourable climatic conditions, the availability of greater genetic diversity is likely to increase the resilience of crop production systems in the face of new climatic and disease challenges. Improving collections of crop wild relatives is important, as they are likely to have genetic traits that can be used in the development of well-adapted crops for use in climate change-affected production systems.”
It is likely that climate change will necessitate more international exchanges of genetic resources as countries seek to obtain well-adapted crops, livestock, trees and aquatic organisms. The prospect of greater interdependence in the use of genetic resources in the future underscores the importance of international cooperation in their management today and of ensuring that mechanisms are in place to allow fair and equitable – and ecologically appropriate – transfer of these resources internationally.”
“Climate change is predicted to increase the occurrence of extreme events such as floods, droughts and hurricanes, leading to greater reliance on seed relief. More-effective seed distribution networks that supply well-adapted seed need to be developed, both for post-disaster situations and to support longer-term adaptation of agricultural systems to climate change.”