I recently saw the 60 Minutes documentary "The Electronic Wasteland", about the unscrupulous disposal of toxic computer garbage, and now I'm determined to cling to my iPhone for as long as humanly possible, until it's utterly unusable. Despite these efforts to control my e-waste footprint, none of it means that my iJunk won't end up in the pile eventually anyway.
But there must be some way to stop this! If only everyone creatively recycled their dead and dying computer devices. With a little bit of imagination, making "yesterday's latest technology" into beautiful pieces of art is a nice way to avoid sending the stuff off to fester in a developing country. Here are examples of eight artworks that give us an idea of the range of possibilities for what old computers, cellphones, televisions, and common electronic parts can become.
Former filmmaker and current artist Theo Kamecke sees the intrinsic beauty of the purely functional patterns on circuit boards. He extracts the shiny metals from them and uses a traditional marquetry technique to apply scraped metal onto hardwood to make awe-inspiring, hieroglyph-like designs on furniture, and decorative structures that look like they were unearthed from a pharaoh's burial chambers.
English engineer Harry Beck was inspired by the colorful and systematic wires in electronic circuitry, so he created the London Underground Tube map, which became a blueprint for public transportation maps through until present day. To pay homage to Beck, Japanese designer Yuri Suzuki used actual electronic components to re-create the London Underground Map to reveal the similarities between electric systems and our planned public spaces.
Korean artist, Lee Woo, created a series of sculptures built from old computer hardware. Each sculpture represents a mix of mythology and technology, like Centauros (pictured), brought from virtual world into real life.
This coffee table, Electri-Cities, is a dazzling piece of furniture that goes beyond holding coffee mugs and magazines. Aside from allowing you to play music and check emails on it, it also contains a miniature sci-fi metropolis with tiny moving people, lights, and cars for you to stare mesmerized into during those boring commercial breaks.
Italian artist Franco Rechhia creates beautiful cityscapes and skylines using the assemblage of old computer parts.
A PAIR OF NIKES
ELECTRONIC FOSSILS REMAINS
Imagine a million years from now, the electronic wasteland we've created would be buried, with all kinds of stuff from our time. Peter McFarlane explores this concept with his animal fossils made from circuit boards instead of rock or sediment.