Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mine, Woodchip, Pile...

The things we build begin as natural resources and end up in piles. What happens in between? Consider computers for example ...

The life of a new computer is about two to three years. In that time, the owner pours pieces of self into this machine, hits send, or save, or download a few thousand times, and this becomes part of the collective digital landfill accumulating all around us. Computers are basically woodchippers that take in large chunks of information at certain points of entry and then spit out bits and fragments across the planet.

Strange materials are drawn from the earth to build a computer. Minerals. Silica. Copper. Gaping holes are left where the minerals are mined. On the other end of the cycle, dead computers are dumped by the hundreds of thousands in piles as high as the eye can see. Apparently, these "laptop mountains" are in Nigeria. They beg to be photographed (Mr. Burtynsky?)

("Oxford Tire Pile, Westley California - #8" by Ed Burtynsky)


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