Science & Technology

Tajai and Ivan Ussach are discussing human waste recycling and creative tensions of socially conscious artists. – Science Inquirer

Art and science were used to share much of the same intellectual space. Most recently, they diverged to the point where they seemed to be the exact opposite. Exchange It is our attempt to rekindle some of the dialogue that took place between the two disciplines.

This time, I summarized Tajai and Ivan Ussach.


Tajai One of the four founding members of the Oakland-based underground hip-hop group Souls of Mischief, along with the Souls of Mischief, is part of the hieroglyphs of an eight-person alternative hip-hop group.He’s also half of the hip hop duo Rap noir..

Ivan Ussach Rich Earth Institute.. He has a background in environmental toxicology and has jointly led and led several non-profit organizations working on watershed and forest conservation, including the Millers River Basin Council. As a co-founder of the Rainforest Alliance, Ivan created the Smartwood Certification Program and was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council. He holds an MPH degree in Environmental Sciences from Columbia University’s Faculty of Public Health.


Tajai. (Credit: Artist)

Tajai: Is there a way to turn solid and liquid waste (yes, human feces and urine) into useful and reusable products? Or is there at least a small impact on the environment when it comes to disposal?

Ivan Ussach: Many people may be surprised to find that human excrement, like almost all organic matter, can be used for productive purposes. Usually this means producing some kind of fertilizer product. For thousands of years, people around the world have applied urine and feces to local crops to provide valuable nutrients. Recycle waste with proper care to destroy pathogens, especially given the option of purchasing energy-intensive fertilizers made from fossil fuels and flushing human excrement into clean drinking water. That makes sense in nature.

Human urine is rich in the important phytonutrients nitrogen and phosphorus, as well as many valuable trace elements. Separation of urine at the source also keeps these nutrients away from the waste stream. This prevents precious water from being used for flushing, preventing the same nutrients from becoming pollutants when accepting waterways (think of toxic algae outbreaks), and using nutrients as agricultural resources. I will be able to do it.

One of the innovative approaches to recycling human excrement for productive use and closing the “nutrient cycle” is the work of the Rich Earth Institute in southern Vermont, USA, since 2012. We run the first and largest urinary nutrient recycling program in the country. People use simple techniques to divert pee from the waste stream. Rich Earth then collects it, processes it, removes pathogens, and then safely applies it to local farms.

This community-scale model has great global potential. The main challenge is regulation, as the rules for applying processed urine for productive use are very restrictive and very different. Rich Earth is working with others to deal with it. In the meantime, anyone with a garden can safely and effectively use diluted urine fertilizer on a household scale.

The practical application and application of human feces has received a great deal of attention from scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs, as well as many home practitioners who create “humanity” around the world. Various compost toilets are already on the market. In addition, new building-level technology for capturing and processing “black water” is under development and is approaching commercial scale. Such technology is a precursor to the future where toilets are considered resource recovery units rather than waste conveyors.

See / download for a complete breakdown of the wide range of ways to divert urine, as well as treatments and applications on farms and gardens. A guide to getting started with a community-wide urinary diversion program so richearthinstitute.org..


Ivan Ussach (Credit: Rich Earth Institute)

Ivan Ussach: As a socially conscious artist, you may struggle with how art can change people’s attitudes towards established ideas. How does creative tension manifest in the way you treat this as a conscious or unconscious element of your work?

Tajai: I believe my art must reflect my spirit and emotions When creating art.. Of course, it may reflect one’s inclusive morals, values ​​and philosophies, but I don’t think this is always necessary or even healthy for the artist. As dynamic beings, we tend to be in different places, spiritual, spiritual, and political, at different times in our lives.

My goal when creating it is to strive to be most faithful to its position / stance / location / character when the art was created. It’s like a comprehensive idea of ​​”consciousness.” To me, this is really “conscious” about creation, allowing you to be completely open, aware of your current state, and direct that awareness to your art.

I also think this makes art so wonderful-it captures, freezes, and (hopefully gladly or) the trials, hardships, wins, losses, and other experiences we all experience in life. Disseminate (in a thought-provoking way).

As creators of society, some of us feel that we need to take responsibility for the messages we send through art. I personally live a life that suits my values ​​and try to get to know this lifestyle through real-life interactions with fans, critics and other people who may be influenced by my work. I am.

But I don’t feel that I need to constantly inject my personal values ​​into the artwork (although they will inevitably appear after I create the art). As I said before, I tend to allow my state at the time of creation to determine the direction of the flow of creation. This feels better and more natural to me as an artist. This prevents you from role-playing, talking about different topics, predicting and stylizing your approach when you need it.

I respect all artists who have a cloak of being “conscious” or “positive”, but I do not consider myself one of those artists Regarding my artistry.. We (hieroglyphs) are obsessed with occupying this space because we live a lifestyle that is more in harmony with the positive values ​​favored by many “conscious” artists. I think there is.

But if you listen to most of our music, you’ll find that the position we take in the music makes us much more diverse and broader, and not always. Considered a “conscious” perspective.

So, to answer the question, I say this: when I create, I don’t feel the need to try to change someone’s thinking about something. My goal is to draw vivid and nuanced pictures of everything I choose to address. And let the listeners immerse themselves in what I’m saying and make their own decisions about what I’m addressing, based on the authenticity of the paintings I have. “I drew.”

Injecting your thoughts and feelings into art is about expressing that method. Only me and me Feel about the subject (and nevertheless, the “I” playing in music may not be the “I” I really am), don’t tell anyone listening to how you feel. Now, when fans and journalists ask me about my feelings about a subject, my answer is faithful to my personal values ​​and as constructive as I could collect at the time. I hope you are positive.

But as long as my work (distilled emotions into audio format) and emotions change, I’m faithful to the emotions caused by the beat and talk about the products of those emotions. My goal is to strengthen the physical world and / or create a world of transcendental language. This allows listeners to imagine, re-imagine, and further analyze the world we all share. My goal, thought-provoking, is to give listeners enough space to move in any direction with the art I present.

In the light of everything I said, I end up with a quote from a great philosopher Chris Parker – “The lesson of the story is … immoral. You finish the story for me …”


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Tajai and Ivan Ussach are discussing human waste recycling and creative tensions of socially conscious artists. – Science Inquirer

https://scientificinquirer.com/2021/09/24/the-exchange-tajai-and-ivan-ussach-discuss-human-waste-recycling-and-creative-tension-in-socially-conscious-artists/ Tajai and Ivan Ussach are discussing human waste recycling and creative tensions of socially conscious artists. – Science Inquirer

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