“New Pyramids” explores some of the inherent dichotomies in the prolific modern production, consumption and waste of household electronics. Contemporary culture is built around and hinges upon an almost obsessive consumption of commodities. The urge to repetitively replace products with illusory updates moves fastest in the realm of consumer electronics, which is also the fastest growing waste problem being mass-produced by the global community. The accelerated rate of technological innovation has been historically linked to the development of capitalist modes of production. The ubiquitous hunger for mediatised stimuli can only be satiated through the continued exponential growth in technological production, contributing to a parallel overabundance of non-recyclable toxic waste materials. Electronic waste includes (but is not limited to) computers, televisions, monitors, faxes, answering machines, cameras and mobile phones. Each of these waste items is a cultural vestige that has been a significant player in the capitalist mode of production’s invasion and domination of all work, leisure and communication time. In 2008 it was estimated there were 37 million computers in Australian landfills, with only a small percentage being recycled. Capitalism’s robust systems of waste removal have facilitated cyclical consumption and the unquestioned disposal of redundant devices with little to no confrontation. For most Western countries the disposal of e-waste is costly due to the environmental and health risks presented by the materials, as a result it is up to 10 times cheaper to export waste to developing countries such as China, India and African nations where it is dismantled in unregulated and dangerous conditions reportedly often by young children.
The ‘Anthropocene’ is a developing theory in geology and serves to mark the extent of human activities and their impact on the Earth’s eco systems. It has no precise start date but may be considered to have begun with the Industrial Revolution, leading up to the present climate of mass production that will, according to geologists, leave behind a solid layer of broken down plastics and metals on the earths crust for millennia. ACAB collective’s work explores the forecast of the Anthropocene – are our swollen landfills the pyramids of late capitalism? Will the archeologist of the future be digging through layers of E-waste? Our work is made entirely of discarded electronics sourced from local tips and landfill, however it does not seek to embody environmentalism/recycling. The popular inclination to reuse such outdated items (until they eventually break and then get thrown back on the nature strip) is potentially a superficial solution to an ideological problem, an ideology of production that has formed an era marked by its toxic impact on the earth’s ecosystems.
Zinzi Kennedy, Ben Johanson 2013
FRUITLESS ARCHEOLOGY opening Friday Aug 2, 6-8pm
running until the 31st at Five Walls 1/119 Hopkins St, Footscray
FRUITLESS ARCHEOLOGY by ACAB marks a decisive shift in the art making of the young collective, while continuing an exploration of found material, the work installed at Five Walls moves beyond installation and introduces the work as sculpture. Three large scale sculptures sit implacably atop of makeshift plinths. Black lighting, fluorescent dye and neon all collaborate with the salt-incrusted objects engendering dreamlike or mystical qualities, forms subtly dissolve into an array of disorienting phosphorescent glows only to reform as recognisable objects; a speaker, a mobile phone, a tangle of electrical cable - securely cementing the fact that these objects are garbage.
Find it at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/89506256@N06/
Check out ‘Collaboration in the visual arts’ by Kent Wilson featuring interviews with Soda_Jerk, Ash Keating, Ms&Mr, The Safari Team, The Seam and ACAB Collective!