Unplanned newness for the Anthrobscene
Trash collage / Exhibition at Aalto / Materiality / Media and ecology
Electric circuit boards contain a variety of metals, minerals, plastics and other substances. Their 'preciousness' is decided by manufacturers who plan their obsolescence.
Wikipedia describes it as "a policy of planning or designing a product with an artificially limited useful life, so that it becomes obsolete (i.e., unfashionable, or no longer functional) after a certain period of time." The work seeks to bring attention to the practice of planned of obsolescence by reclaiming discarded circuits and repurposing them into unplanned forms of newness.
The exhibition was an outcome from collective study into materiality of media practices and its socio-ecological implications. The course - Archeology of Media Infrastructures
- was taught at Aalto MediaLab by media artist Samir Bhowmik.
Behind the scenes Process video
The letters were made by combining waste circuit boards with composite wood. The work is a ‘trash collage’ since the materials - the circuit boards and the wood - were found in the trash. It is a collage not only because it is an assemblage of found objects, but also because the artistic concept and physical form were developed as a direct response to the objects which were found. We did not start with an ‘idea’ to make letters from circuit boards but first found the trash, found circuit boards and thus found their aesthetic possibilities. These boards were mounted on wood using bolts and cut into the shapes of letters by the waterjet cutter - Omax 55100 Jetmachining Centre - which is one of the artists here. It uses a super-fast jet of water to cut through pretty much anything and the manner in which each component of the circuit board was cut - some clean, some not, some complete, some not - brings to light the machine’s artistic agency.
The word Anthrobscene, coined by Jussi Parikka, is a sharp critique of the Anthropocene debate - shifting focus from the 'centrality' of humans to the sheer obscenity of our ecological affect.
The artwork, at the Anthrobscene exhibition at Aalto University, was more of an artwork-signage.
Artwork made by:
Reishabh Kailey, Gurden Batra
, Serpil Oğuz
and the Omax 55100 JetMachining centre, operated by Jie Luo at the Waterjet Cutting Workshop, Aalto University
Circuit Boards, Composite wood, Bolts