I am very pleased to announce our new exhibition at Watermans, Bodies of Planned Obsolescence: Digital performance and the global politics of electronic waste.
The exhibition is the result of an amazing journey and a collaborative research project that started in London, continued to Lagos and Hong Kong and came to an end in London this week.
Bodies of Planned Obsolescence is an art-science research project that engages with the global economy of discarded electronics. Old computers and other electronic appliances from countries in the West, including the UK, are often exported to West-Africa and China. As part of the project, an international group of artists, cultural theorists and scientists followed this global stream of waste to Nigeria, Hong Kong, and the UK, and took part in e-waste recycling labour on dumps and in factories in these places.
In a journey filled with piles of all sorts of electronic materials and devices, from old flat screen TVs to computers and household appliances; keyboards and other plastic shells; CDs, DVDs and their boxes; cables and other peripherals, the research group spent a few (adventurous!) days working at an e-waste dump site connected to the Alaba market in Lagos, an enormous market in the western outskirts of Lagos which includes one of the biggest used electronics trading sites in Nigeria. Following Lagos, the group travelled to Hong Kong, where they participated in electronic waste recycling labour, dismantling computers and monitors, but where they also explored the consumer world and trade at used and new electronics markets. During the last part of their research, the group spent a week working together at Watermans and exploring e-waste recycling sites around London.
Bodies of Planned Obsolescence forms a platform for artists and academics, but also looks to open public debate and discussions around the problematics of e-waste.
'Bodies of Planned Obsolescence' is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
The exhibition will be open from 5-24 July and on Saturday 4 July, there will be a public event from 2-6PM and great opportunity to meet and chat with the participants, Dani Ploeger, Shu Lea Cheang, Neil Maycroft, Chris Williams and Hannah Millest, who will be sharing their experiences and research.
I hope you can join us!
All the best