It’s Novemeber 8th 2016. America and the world over wake up fresh faced and bleary eyed to scroll Twitter, Facebook and Instagram alike, to a collective sigh of disappointment.… and Donald Trump is the newly elected president of USA. Politico’s Timothy Noah earlier tweeting, ‘April Fools day has been cancelled this year in sad recognition of the fact that absolutely nothing is implausible anymore’, sums up the general mood. With the fact that the absolute impossible has become a reality, people are starting to wig out (pun intended).

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Donald Trump Collage [Lucy Deverall 2016]

In this post-modern context we live in, it has become pretty much impossible to separate fact from fiction. With Donald completely trumping reality, the thought that aliens will come down from outer space to save us doesn’t really seem completely that implausible. People all over the world are even more disenchanted. And they’ve had enough…

People are letting their instincts take over. Their bodily feelings that everything on a fundamental level has been wrong for a very long time. Even since Buckminster Fuller wrote in his ‘Operating Manual for a Spaceship Earth’, “I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem.” People are tired. People are VERY tired. But people are angry.

In Marrickville, Australia, the already ‘ready for change’ population see this as their opportunity. Their opportunity to leave the bleary eyed zombastic existence they have rubbed up wrong against for a very long time. They realise from the bombastic attitude of Trump that reality really is what you make it, so they decide to take it in their own hands. They make it local. And who better to lead the pack than the ever loving, ever relaxed, every composting Mr Bob of Hobo Grow from the Addison road community center.


Armed with 2 things: the fiery passion that anger has burned inside of them and the internet they become a community based on the ethos of “Doing more good, not less harm.” Using bio-technology and biodesign, they create waste management systems that only could be dreamed of with the help of a truly interdisciplinary community mindset.

Their gardens become dense permacultural systems chewing up Bobs compost faster than they can collect the waste to make more. None of their food goes to waste, with plenty of people from Cornersmith and other local cafes drying, pickling and preserving every fruit, seed, nut and vegetable they have leftover. Their fermented kobucha drinks create a ‘Scoby’, a thick mass of bacteria that they dry to create fabrics for clothing and bags etc.

With the help of the ever powerful mushroom they take the advice of Redfern’s Milkwood permaculture school to grow an abundance of mushrooms with the waste of cafes all around. They innoculate their own and other local agricultural waste with mycellium into moulds to grow their own materials to build their homes and other products from.

Using homemade photobioreactors they grow their own algae for protein and handpressed biofuel briquettes that they use for cooking and other means of heat.


Legum, J. This French Philosopher Is The Only One Who Can Explain The Donald Trump Phenomenon, Thinkprogress, September 14, 2015. Last viewed 15th June 2016. Retrieved from < http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2015/09/14/3701084/donald-trump/>

Lyons, S. (2011) The identity of photography: Exploring realism and the nature of photography in photojournalism, Department of Media, Music and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie University. (pp.54-68). Macquarie Matrix: Vol.1

Noah, T. @TimothyNoah1, April Fools day has been cancelled this year in sad recognition of the fact that absolutely nothing is implausible anymore. Twitter, Last viewed 16th June 2016. Retrieved from:<https://twitter.com/timothynoah1/status/715863171978936320>

Hobo Gro (2015) Available at: http://www.hobogro.com.au/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

Mycelium inoculation technique (2008) Available at: http://www.fungifun.org/English/Mycelium (Accessed: 21 June 2016).

Fuller, B.R. and Fuller, R.B. (2008) Operating manual for spaceship earth. Edited by Jaime Snyder. Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers.



Organic waste management is of extreme importance to the survival of us and our planet. Living in the anthropocene, in which we are aware from Lab A is the period where humans are responsible as the dominant influence on the climate and the environment, organic waste management is a fraction of what we need to address to be within our means of the planetary boundaries. Organic waste management, if done correctly, would address the about 5 of the boundaries, but the most important one it could address is biogeochemical flows. We mine phosphorous to feed our industrial crops of food and then it gets eaten, urinated out and the rest goes into landfill. Essentially, we are eating up more phosphorous than we piss out [literally] and where are we sending it? Straight into the toilet [literally]. A desperate perception shift is in order but our poor disenchanted hearts are lacking the ability to percieve this newly formed 4 dimensional world through our biologically set 3 dimensional lens that a shift of perception wont happen fast enough.

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BOB. local gardening legend

Bob from the locally famous Hobo Grow is a man on a mission. On the most local level, he is taking in waste from all around Marrickville and turning into compost with his volunteers, using the garden as a form of therapy for them all who suffer from a mental illness. It’s an amazing business model, literally turning waste in his surrounds and generating it into 100% profitable wealth. This is a super simple technique that I find quite unbelievable people don’t do it themselves. A way of bettering the system is to not outsource it to people like Bob, but do it ourselves. The real issue, though, is that people don’t garden, don’t want to garden and fundamentally don’t know how to garden anymore, so, in the wise words of Bob himself “what use is nutrient rich compost when you can pop down to woolies hey?”

Fungimental is a small startup creating gourmet oyster mushrooms from coffee ground ‘waste’. They collect coffee grounds from all around the city and brew them with mycellium spawn in their small little shop in Central Park. Phill, owner of the startup, has the right mindset. “Cafes are bonkers!” he says, “It would be so easy for them to grow their own mushrooms from their coffee grounds, but I guess they’re just as time poor as everybody else so I just thought I would do it for them!” Not dis-similar from Dr Gabor Matés hypothesis in his conference lecture “Our toxic culture has bled into every aspect of our lives. We have lost the fundamentals and have alienated ourselves from our planet due to our time poor lives.”


Smil, V. (1999) ‘Nitrogen in crop production: An account of global flows’, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 13(2), pp. 647–662. doi: 10.1029/1999gb900015.

Smil, V. (2000) ‘P HOSPHORUS IN THE E NVIRONMENT: Natural flows and human Interferences’,Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 25(1), pp. 53–88. doi: 10.1146/annurev.energy.25.1.53.

Dunne, A. and Raby, F. (2014) Speculative everything: Design, fiction, and social dreaming. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Coffee grounds (2010) Available at: http://businessrecycling.com.au/recycle/coffee-grounds (Accessed: 21 June 2016).

WakingTimes (2014) The changing face of revolution – 3 inspiring people who are undermining the matrix. Available at: http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/04/03/changing-face-revolution-3-inspiring-people/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).



“By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.” [Permaculture institute 2015]

Observe and Interact is the first principle of the 12 permaculture principles. It is the first, I believe, Observation is a technique in design that is talked about endlessly, but seldom used to its full potential. As you observe, you see reality. As it is, right here, right now, right in front of your eyes. In our overly anxious society, we have been told to ‘live in the present’ so much that it has lost its meaning.
So what does to live in the present really mean? Firstly, the universal law of nature is impermanence. This cannot be argued, everything is impermanent. Wether it be  your house, your mother, yourself or the very present moment. It will pass, eventually. Therefore to ‘live in the moment’ really means to observe the moment, as it is, right now. To fully live in the moment would mean to observe every passing moment, with absolutely no pre-conception, assumption or influence from the previous moments that have passed. So why is this so hard, and why is it so rare that us as designers use this as the fundamental framework for every single design? We need a serious shift in the fundamental framework of our societal values before we can even start to see a shift.

Permaculture Icon for Principle 1: It represents to become a tree in nature.

Two observations on my second day of the lab:

very few were even willing to observe or interact with the bins or with the dehydrated waste. I don’t expect to see any informed solution from anyone who doesn’t want to observe or interact with waste.

A classmate made a statement to me: “I always see pictures on facebook of your friend in dirt. It’s just weird.” This seems to be a more popular thought than the opposite.

How can we possibly hope for any decent solutions from people who think sitting in a patch of the very soil that has nourished our body and will continue to up until we die? If we keep thinking this way,our designs will continue to be as shallow as that very statement.


Interaction prototyping is a low fidelity method used mostly in the beginning stages of designing. It is a good way, in conjunction with observation, to eliminate any wrong assumptions you may have made out of sheer ignorance. The scenarios you create will inform and morph your brief to be much more informed. It can be used to inform any affordances, appearances or interactions you plan on integrating into a designed system. You can use any material you wish, but as the focus is mainly on interaction, cardboard and masking tape is fine.


Holmgren, D. (2011) Permaculture design principle 1: ‘Observe and interact’. Available at: https://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/_1/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

van Boeijen, A., Daalhuizen, J., Zijlstra, J., van der Schoor, R., Delft, T.H. and Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering Delft (2013) Delft design guide: Design methods – Delft university of technology – faculty of industrial design engineering. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers B.V.


Waste wraps all around us like a condom thats a little bit too small, encasing us so tightly that its suffocating us, choking us almost until our heads turn blue. But apparently, we have no choice. We don’t want to live without the pleasures, so we go for it anyway, well aware that it will break as we continue fucking the planet for all its worth. It’s screaming “STOP”, but our hedonistic lifestyles have rendered us dumb, deaf and blind to the importance of the 4 very things we have alienated ourselves from. Nature. Community. Work & Creativity. Ourselves [Bioneers program 2015].


Waste is omnipresent both in its physical, tangible form and in its invisible forms due to poor design and poor foresight. In my day of waste collection, I discovered both are equally as important as one another and that I’m completely ignorant to what waste I should consider most.

Today I wasted a lot. Firstly the god damned packaging. Too much of it. Plastic plastic plastic plastic foil plastic foil plastic, thoughI would like to focus mainly on 2 things. My soup & my coffee. Well, coffees.


Today, I tried to make potato and leek soup and it went very wrong. I chopped the ingredients and boil them until it’s time to blend it. I try to take the blender out of its cradle…..its stuck? what could possibly be wrong with my blender? I hold the base and pull up………….. BOOOOOOOOOM soup everywhere. I’m scolded. Great.

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1)Spilled soup 2) one of my 4 esspressos 3)coffee grouns 4)energy wasting fridge 5) wasting water to clean up.

This mess, to me, represents the interconnectedness of everything. Consider the waste here, right from the beginning. Energy & water to grow food. Energy to manufacture blender. Energy to cook food. Energy to blend food. 5 mins of running water to sooth my burn. Water to clean up soup spill. I liken this to Dr Maté’s biopsychosocial perspective, a much more open minded view of the health of a human relating to their social, relational, interactive and cultural lives than the pure physical qualities of an illness.

Maté’s Biopshychosocial perspective.


On the day of my audit I drank 4 coffees. Each double espresso uses 16 grams therefore creating 64g of leftover organic waste. Sydney siders drink about 1.3 million cups per day. Consider each cup uses 7 grams that is 9100kg of coffee ‘waste’. Wasted. In landfill.

There are 2 organisations in Sydney alone addressing the issue.

Milkwood Permaculture are based in Redfern. They offer educational courses on how to grow your own mushrooms at home using this ‘waste’ produce.

Fungimental are a startup based in Central Park. They have just begun, opening on the 16th June 2016 and aim to collect 500kg of this coffee waste every week and turn it into 800kg of delicious oyster mushrooms every week. These are two organisations using this waste beneficially.

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Fungimental’s process.

The situation is so ugly that we almost have to double bag it. A bag on our head and a bag on the earth, just incase the earths breaks. Of course, creating more waste.


Bioneers (2015) Dr. Gabor Maté – toxic culture | Bioneers. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erZhTPkOLb0 (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

Coal earth condom (2011) Available at: http://persuasivegraffiti.weebly.com/random/coal-earth-condom (Accessed: 21 June 2016).

Biopsychosocial model (2012) at: https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/the-bio-psycho-social-model/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).

White, P. (2015) Fungimental. Available at: http://fungimental.com.au/ (Accessed: 17 June 2016).