Thesis Info

Thesis Title
The Swap-O-Matic
Lina Fenequitio
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Parsons School of design
Thesis Supervisor
David Kanter
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
design and technology
Languages Familiar to Author
URL where full thesis can be found
consumerism, economy, recycling, commercialism, humor, culture jam, satire, recycling, environmentalism
Abstract: 200-500 words
Probably, most of us realize we live in a culture that promotes and values consumption and the unfettered acquisition of material possessions. As Americans, we cannot turn on the television, walk or drive down the street, or enter a store without being advertised to. The consumerist lifestyle we are accustomed to requires the production, transportation, dispensing, and packaging of large quantities of goods, producing effects that spread much further than our own wallets and kitchens. Unbridled consumption places severe stresses on our global community; its repercussions permeating into almost every crevice of our economy, culture, and individual life. The Swap-O-Matic addresses these issues through a system of trading, which will not only comment on the material society that we live in, but also propose a solution for a change in cultural mindset which occupies the core of the problem. The project will attempt to promote the recycling of objects through the interface of a vending machine, which features used rather than new products. Participation with the system will allow users to rethink spending patterns, view consumption with a different perspective, and explore issues of material possessions and American consumption through a public installation. The Swap-O-Matic is intended to be both a solution and critical response to the gluttonous culture that we live in today--its core function to support the reuse and recycling of consumer products through swapping among participants. The project’s form, a vending machine, not only supports the function of an automated, self-contained system for swapping, but also frames the interaction in the problematic cultural context which it comments, insinuating notions of the immediacy, instant-gratification, and convenience—values often associated with vending machines.