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Research Seed Grant Awarded to Jessica Blaustein

Sustainability Green Fund

This Spring, Jessica Blaustein was awarded a Research Seed Grant by The New School Green Fund for her Lifecycles of Information research project.


The Life Cycles of Information is a research project that will take place through the Spring 2013 Urban Media Lab: Waste seminar in the School of Media Studies. Seminar participants will focus on electronic waste at the New School and in New York City as a form of urban trash and as a fundamental component of broader life cycles of information production, distribution, and consumption in the global cultural economy. Waste proves to be an intriguing subject of inquiry for many media studies students who spend considerable time dwelling on the histories, cultures, and politics of information and communication. There is a growing awareness of the environmental impacts of information consumption through the mammoth energy footprints of data exchange and storage centers and the rising tide of digital devices that are as conspicuously discarded as they are consumed, often amassing in toxic dumps that overlap geographically and socio-economically with the global urban poor. Read through the dual lenses of data and devices, and in stark contrast to the mythology of the ‘cloud’ that dominates commercial representations of digital communication, students will investigate the profound material and spatial dimensions of the life cycles of information. The Green Fund will support the production of digital interactive maps that track various e-waste streams in the city to regional and global contexts, and that visualize the ecological footprints of data consumption more broadly – connecting what are often understood to be personal data worlds to larger material infrastructures and to global supply and removal chains. Alongside the maps, the seminar will compile a digital reference library of interviews, videos, images, news clippings, and academic research to serve as a resource for other university students, faculty, and staff.

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