Wasted Time: Exploitation and the Life of the Factory, is the Masters of Architecture graduate thesis research of Alan G. Escareño, conducted with the guidance of Prof. Cyrus Peñarroyo at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, 2020-2021.
Starving us of oxygen; preparing and packaging the foods we eat; contaminating our waterways; providing us with individual individual rations; fighting, attempting to control a simmering reality whilst simultaneously fanning the flames.*
If architecture is implicated in global waste streams that continue to make the planet uninhabitable, this thesis prompts reflection on consumer habits by harnessing the empathic power of storytelling to transform a building—an anonymous plastics factory—into the narrator of a tale about junk and justice.
In 2030, Earth’s carrying capacity will reach a tipping point due to colossal material extraction and overproduction. As commercial spaceflight offers the one-percent a way out, everyone else must prepare to live with their waste. Instead of accepting culpability for these dire circumstances, humans will blame factories: architectures that have been optimized for capital gain since the Industrial Revolution. A byproduct of logistical management, this building type is a microcosm of the world’s most complicated socio-material relations and a witness to the abusive nature of consumerism. This thesis cultivates new proximities to waste by anthropomorphizing the factory, representing its point of view, and reorienting human beings to their own exploitative systems.
The Factory oversees the production and distribution of plastic consumer objects. The Factory recognizes the unhappiness of its mortal counterparts as they live with trash that belongs to a wealthier class of astro-expats. The Factory, exhausted from human inaction, decides to periodically launch their trash into outer space. The Factory wishes to expose humans to their excessive practices by making explicit shared dependencies on the oil industry. The Factory broadcasts a disorienting animation to handheld devices born from its insides that redescribes the circulation of products and material flows. The Factory will not disclose its location but wants you to know that its reach is expansive.