Date of Award

Spring 6-3-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Industrial Design


Industrial Design

First Advisor

Charlie Cannon

Second Advisor

Tim Maly

Third Advisor

Samantha MacBride


Litter is upsetting.

People upset by litter often misunderstand its sources. Those for whom state power has worked look for simple solutions that seek to surveil, fine, and punish culprits.

Reality is messy.

The path of trash from hand to landfill requires a series of successful transfers between receptacles and responsibility. Wind, accidents, and spills in automated systems complicate trash’s path from here to away. Out of this complexity, leaks accumulate—visible issues without clear causes or responsibility.

Leaks are unavoidable.

There is an irreducible gap between the world as it is and our models of it. In this mismatch, systems leak.

The choice lies in how we respond.

The Department of Strange Beauty engages people struggling with the mess. DSB is not here to stop the leaks, but to help people understand and respond to complexity. Working between institutions, DSB approaches waste management and other leaky systems with reimagined tools and strategies.

Faced with the mess, we invite you: pick it up or let it go.



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