Hardware hacking and recycling strategies…

 

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  recyclism 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #135

    recyclism
    Moderator

    Hi Ben here [aka Recyclism],

    So this group is open and here is a little text about Hardware Hacking / Recycling that led to the thread:
    Hardware hacking and recycling strategies in an age of technological obsolescence
    by Benjamin Gaulon
    Planned obsolescence was first explicitly formulated in the 1920s and 1930s as part of a strategy to promote recurrent consumption [1]. The term “planned obsolescence” already appears in the 1930s, as exemplified by Bernard London’s pamphlet of 1932 Ending the Depression Through Planned Obsolescence [2]. In the 1950s, further evidence of this dynamic can found in statements by designers such as Brooks Stevens [3] and retailing experts like Victor Labow [4].

    Planned obsolescence may be described as a design strategy that pre-emptively restricts the lifespan of a commercial product, building-in factors intended to promote early replacement (of the object or intrinsic part thereof) before usability is fully exhausted. These built-in factors may be of a technical or material nature, e.g., some inkjet printer manufacturers uses smart chips in their ink cartridges to prevent them from being used after a certain threshold like the number of pages or time. Apple’s iPod, iPhones and iPads are manufactured with no user serviceable parts inside, including their batteries. After approximately three years of use, the lithium-polymer battery will no longer work and the device will either need to be professionally serviced or discarded. Sometimes they may comprise a marketing strategy in which the appearance of “new” models within the same product range relegates older models to obsolescence [5].

    Planned obsolescence is an especially notable strategy in the consumer technology and personal electronics market, where there is a clear premium on the novelty and iterative development of new generations of the same underlying technologies (e.g., the personal computer and the mobile phone). Darren Blum, a senior industrial engineer at Pentagram Design, which builds portable devices and computers for companies like Hewlitt Packard, says “We joke that we design landfills” [6]. The combination of short term design and marketing strategies and fast consumption behaviours tends to generate a fast increasing amount of electronic waste [7].

    A counterpoint to the development of planned obsolescence is evidenced by the work of artists, hobbyists, hackers, activists and sustainability-advocates who explore the latent potential of apparently “obsolete” devices. Early indications of this tendency are in the work of Reed Ghazala [8] who initiated and first conceptualized the practice of “Circuit Bending” in the 1960s which has not been widely documented, studied or theorised [9]. An other emerging practice is the recycling and hardware hacking processes that are driven by necessity by Hackers and Hobbyist in westerns and developing countries [10]. Though driven by entirely different motivations, these practices can inform each other. Furthermore these practices have the potential to make significant contributions into the debate of technological obsolescence.

    Hardware hacking as an art practice has emerged very recently, notably in the field of electronic music as the technique of “circuit bending” where cheap music toys and instruments are modified to create new and unique music instruments. While less prevalent for visual artists, perhaps because it requires more specific skills and knowledge, it is a practice, which has seen a growth in popularity.

    While it is a new practice, it’s art historical precedents can be traced back to the cybernetic art movement of the 1960s best known through the Jasia Reichardt curated “Cybernetic Serendipity” exhibition in the ICA in 1968. Key influences would include the installation work of Nam June Paik, the machines of Jean Tinguely and the lesser-known work of French cybernetic artist Nicolas Schöffer.

    Examples of artists and artists groups involved in hardware hacking would include the Institute for Applied AutonomyPeter VogelCasey Smith (Junkfunnel Lab)Gebhard SengmüllerKarl Klomp,Gijs GieskesRosa MenkmanTom VerbruggenJonah Bruker-Cohen & Katherine Moriwaki (Scrapyard Challenge)Ben Castro and Miguel Rodriguez of BasuramaGarnet HertzNiklas Roy,Todd HoloubekGordan SavicicHarold SchellinxPeter EdwardsMartin DiamantGünter ErhartNicolas CollinsCory ArcangelNatalie JeremijenkoTroikaPhil ArcherMichael GolembewskiJohn BowersJulius von BismarckCaleb CoppockLesley FlaniganJames HoustonAleks KolkowskiAlexis MalbertJeff BoyntonTom KochArcangel Constantini,LoVid, Stefan Jankus, Phillip Stearns, and many more.

    New technological developments such as the availability of low cost micro controller boards like Arduino [11] made specifically for artists and designers and the sharing of techniques and information via the Internet have made hardware hacking easier and as a result the popularity of hardware hacking is increasing as an artistic technique.

    The significance of this type of artistic practices is clear when one considers the sheer volume of waste electronics being disposed round world. Moore’s law dictates that the complexity of computer chips doubles each 18 months. By consequence every year 20 to 50 millions tones of E-waste is generated worldwide [7].
    NOTES:

    [1] IT IS WORTH NOTING THAT SOME CRITICS HAVE SUGGESTED THAT THE ROOT CONCEPT OF PROMOTING UNNECESSARY CONSUMPTION THROUGH THE PREMATURE €ŒWEARING-OUT€ OF A COMMODITY IS ALREADY IN EVIDENCE IN THE 17TH CENTURY, POINTING TO SOURCES SUCH AS DISCOURSE ON TRADE (1690) BY NICOLAS BARBON IN WHICH HE ARGUED THAT, “FASHION OR THE ALTERATION OF DRESS IS A GREAT PROMOTER OF TRADE, BECAUSE IT OCCASIONS THE EXPENSE OF CLOTHS BEFORE THE OLD ONES ARE WORN OUT”. (SEE EDWARDS, 2005, PP.24)

    [2] BERNARD LONDON, “ENDING THE DEPRESSION THROUGH PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE” (PAMPHLET), 1932. REPRODUCED BY ADBUSTERS MAGAZINE, “HOW CONSUMER SOCIETY IS MADE TO BREAK,” AVAILABLE ONLINE ATHTTP://WWW.ADBUSTERS.ORG/CATEGORY/TAGS/OBSOLESCENCE (LAST MODIFIED OCTOBER 20TH 2008, LAST MODIFIED OCTOBER 18TH 2009.)

    [3] “DESIRE TO OWN SOMETHING A LITTLE NEWER, A LITTLE BETTER, A LITTLE SOONER THAN IS NECESSARY.” BROOKS STEVENS, TALK AT MIDLAND (MINNEAPOLIS) IN 1954, AUDIO RECORDING AVAILABLE AT HTTP:// http://WWW.MAM.ORG/COLLECTION/ARCHIVES/BROOKS/BIOGRAPHY.ASP.

    [4] “THESE COMMODITIES AND SERVICES MUST BE OFFERED TO THE CONSUMER WITH A SPECIAL URGENCY. WE REQUIRE NOT ONLY “FORCED DRAFT” CONSUMPTION, BUT “EXPENSIVE” CONSUMPTION AS WELL. WE NEED THINGS CONSUMED, BURNED UP, WORN OUT, REPLACED, AND DISCARDED AT AN EVER INCREASING PACE.” VICTOR LEBOW, PRICE COMPETITION IN 1955, THE NEW YORK UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF RETAILING, VOLUME XXXI, NUMBER 1, SPRING 1955, PAGE 7.

    [5] ALTHOUGH THE TERM HAS WIDE CURRENCY IN POPULAR DISCOURSE, CONSIDERED DEFINITIONS FOR “PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE” ARE NOT VERY COMMON ALTHOUGH BOTH VANCE PACKARD (THE WASTE MAKERS. SIMON & SCHUSTER. 1978) AND THOMAS FRANK (THE CONQUEST OF COOL: BUSINESS CULTURE, COUNTERCULTURE, AND THE RISE OF HIP CONSUMERISM, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS, 1997) HAVE ATTEMPTED TO PROVIDE THESE. THESE DEFINITIONS TEND TO FOCUS ON THE QUESTION OF CONSUMERISM AND NOT SPECIFICALLY ABOUT ELECTRONIC WASTE.

    [6] COMPANIES SLASH WARRANTIES, RENDERING GADGETS DISPOSABLE, TUESDAY, JULY 16, 2002, BY JANE SPENCER STAFF REPORTER OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL.

    [7] THE AVERAGE LIFESPAN OF COMPUTERS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES HAS DROPPED FROM SIX YEARS IN 1997 TO JUST TWO YEARS IN 2005. MOBILE PHONES HAVE A LIFECYCLE OF LESS THAN TWO YEARS IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES. 183 MILLION COMPUTERS WERE SOLD WORLDWIDE IN 2004 – 11.6 PERCENT MORE THAN IN 2003. 674 MILLION MOBILE PHONES WERE SOLD WORLDWIDE IN 2004 – 30 PERCENT MORE THAN IN 2003. BY 2010, THERE WILL BE 716 MILLION NEW COMPUTERS IN USE. THERE WILL BE 178 MILLION NEW COMPUTER USERS IN CHINA, 80 MILLION NEW USERS IN INDIA. THE E-WASTE PROBLEM, BACKGROUND – MAY 23, 2005. GREENPEACE INTERNATIONAL. HTTP://WWW.GREENPEACE.ORG/INTERNATIONAL/EN/CAMPAIGNS/TOXICS/ELECTRONICS/THE-E-WASTE-PROBLEM/

    [8] Q. REED GHAZALA, “THE FOLK MUSIC OF CHANCE ELECTRONICS, CIRCUIT-BENDING THE MODERN COCONUT,” LEONARDO MUSIC JOURNAL VOL. 14., MIT PRESS.

    [9] SOME INTERESTING WORK EXISTS SUCH AS ZOMBIE MEDIA: CIRCUIT BENDING MEDIA ARCHAEOLOGY INTO AN ART METHOD GARNET HERTZ & JUSSI PARIKKA. JULY 10TH 2010. VILèM FLUSSER THEORY AWARD 2010.

    [10] SHENZHEN – PHONE RECYCLING – 1 VIA TECHTRAVELS BLOG BY DAVID KOUSEMAKER.
    HTTP://TECHTRAVELS.WORDPRESS.COM/SHENZHEN-PHONE-RECYCLING-1/

    [11] ARDUINO IS AN OPEN-SOURCE ELECTRONICS PROTOTYPING PLATFORM BASED ON FLEXIBLE, EASY-TO-USE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE. IT’S INTENDED FOR ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, HOBBYISTS, AND ANYONE INTERESTED IN CREATING INTERACTIVE OBJECTS OR ENVIRONMENTS. ARDUINO

    • This topic was modified 4 years, 6 months ago by  recyclism.
    #523

    notendo
    Participant

    :wink:

    #525

    recyclism
    Moderator

    I see you have edited out your comment…

    Well it is true I should add you to my list. But so you know, this list is totally subjective and only contains the people I could thought of the day I wrote this (few years back). I’ve update it on my website: http://www.recyclism.com/statement.php

    Examples of artists and artists groups involved in hardware hacking would include the Institute for Applied AutonomyPeter VogelCasey Smith (Junkfunnel Lab)Gebhard SengmüllerKarl Klomp,Gijs GieskesRosa MenkmanTom VerbruggenJonah Bruker-Cohen & Katherine Moriwaki (Scrapyard Challenge)Ben Castro and Miguel Rodriguez of BasuramaGarnet HertzNiklas Roy,Todd HoloubekGordan SavicicHarold SchellinxPeter EdwardsMartin DiamantGünter ErhartNicolas CollinsCory ArcangelNatalie JeremijenkoTroikaPhil ArcherMichael GolembewskiJohn BowersJulius von BismarckCaleb CoppockLesley FlaniganJames HoustonAleks KolkowskiAlexis MalbertJeff BoyntonTom KochArcangel Constantini,LoVid, Stefan Jankus, Phillip StearnsNotendo and many more.

     

     

    #526

    recyclism
    Moderator

    Also it would be cool to help me expand this list so if there are more people I should add to it please let me know.

    #531

    notendo
    Participant

    I would prefer to be listed by my name, rather than a handle.
    Thank you very much.

    #532

    recyclism
    Moderator
    #632

    recyclism
    Moderator

    Please add you rnane if you are planning on working on the installation ReFunct Media @GLI.TC/H (that way I have a better idea of how many we are): http://working.gli.tc/forums/topic/participants/

    #1022

    gemmevernon
    Participant

    Oh, it is my first time to know this idea, I never thought this is possible. I will work on this.

    Thanks,
    Gem, a solution for agricultural waste consultant

    #1141
    sauravdube
    sauravdube
    Participant
    #1142
    sauravdube
    sauravdube
    Participant

    great idea 8-O

    #1457

    recyclism
    Moderator

    Hi.

     

    I’ve posted my essay on hardware hacking vs planned obsolescence, here:

    http://gli.tc/h/wiki/index.php/Readerror

    If any on you feels like adding to it let me know?

     

    b.

     

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