Electric Ecology: oil paintings of ewaste


Cables might be interesting subject matter, but they’re hardly a technology that drives home the point since a cable is almost never outdated. All the plug types she depicts are still in common use.

Certainly some truth to this statement. The concept of a cable in and of itself is not likely to go extinct at all. However, this work is archival oil on canvas, and has a long-view into the future which extends far beyond the types of cables used. These works will exist hundreds of years from now. Further, just because cables could be used, doesn’t mean that they remain in use. The technophile in a household will always have at least a box or drawer full of cables to equipment that is gone and forgotten. Look at an RCA jack from 15 years ago, it may fit the same plug, but it’s easy to place an approximate age with by simply looking at the styling and materials. Cables might get lucky in the future, and find a new use for a little while, but soon they will go back to rest whence they came. On a timeline scaled to the lifespan of fine art, spanning many human lifetimes, all these cables will be obsolete in the blink of an eye.

I was discussing this today with my coworker, wondering if a particular obsolete piece of radio astronomy electronics would be available from the vast e-waste mountains of China. How can I get the robber barons of that industry to get their minions to look for it?

This is fantastic. We’d love to know what that piece is… Perhaps I have one in my drawer : )

The odds of a particular piece of exotic equipment being findable in the billions of dead PCs is about zero. And you wouldn’t have one of these unless you used phase-locked millimeter-wave Gunn diode oscillators in your line of work. So it was a theoretical discussion.

Once I was working on a part of the telescope and Googled the model number of a motor controller board that I wanted to find the user manual for. The first hit in Google was our telescope’s web page. That’s how rare these items are in the real world.

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reminds me of similar works by chilean artist Paloma GĂłmez:

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