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Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and...

- Joinery

12/21/14, 3:56 PM

Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and Prevention of Illegal


Dumping

[I]n general, we, as humans, have less and less understanding of our machineswe are
compartmentalized, looking at a tiny corner of a very complex system beyond our individual
comprehension. Increasing numbers of our systemsfrom finance to electricity to cybersecurity to
medical systems, are going in this direction. We are losing control and understanding which seems fine
until its not. We will certainly, and unfortunately, find out what this really means because sooner or
later, one of these systems will fail in a way we dont understand.
Zeynep Tufecki, Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma

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Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and... - Joinery

12/21/14, 3:56 PM

Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and Prevention of Illegal Dumping is a book masquerading as
a municipal handbook of the future. Inside its bland cover is a confusing and, at times, comedic work of
cut-up style poetry created by software that combines the Detroit municipal codes for refuse
disposal with the iTunes Terms of Use and Googles Terms of Service.
Already illegible to many individuals, municipal codes regarding refuse or water are also computational
codes, situated in the databases of government agencies. As municipalities strive for more efficiency and
cost-savings, a turn towards computation is intuitive. Our municipal services become automated
and privatized, and another layer of illegibility further obscures the way in which basic services are
delivered to us. Much in the way that we allow computation to mediate other aspects of our lives, we
accept this illegibility in exchange for convenience. Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and
Prevention of Illegal Dumping is a meditation on the potential for privatization and automation
of municipal services in cities like Detroit, which, in difficult financial times, turn towards private
companies as well as computation to enhance efficiency. The book is a linguistic metaphor for the melding
of municipal services with privatization and automation.

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Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and... - Joinery

12/21/14, 3:56 PM

A reading of the book was recently completed by Alex. Below is a short selection, from pp. 1-3.
Each line or couplet was also turned into data matrices, images that function as stark reminders of the
hegemony of machine readability. These data matrices were incorporated into a video paired with selected
text from the book.

Legibly Illegible Municipal Services from Terra Preta Lost Cities on Vimeo.
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Terms of Use for Handling of Solid Waste and... - Joinery

12/21/14, 3:56 PM

The book will be on display as part of the DesignInquiry residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art
Detroit (MOCAD). For this iteration, I selected lines from the book and installed them on the floor of the
gallery space and will be projecting the video on a nearby wall.

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