chris jordan circuit boards

Two weeks back I quickly mentioned that I found it difficult to imagine heaps of e-waste being worked into contemporary art. Then just last week, inhabitat reported on the “Beauty From E-Waste” photography of Chris Jordan. So it seems you can create beautiful contemporary art from e-waste. But this isn’t exactly what I was talking about, and feel the need to defend this a little further.

I pointed to Kurt Schwiters as a prime example of an artist who recycled the world around him. From detritus found in urban areas to objects scavenged from walks on beaches, once you breach the levees of his popular work you find out just how prolific he was in producing thousands upon thousands of smaller works constituted from included-found objects and materials. Chris Jordan’s work on the other hand is one of the seductions of photography: a beautiful image yes, but ultimately only concerned with the composition and array of objects and colors, and less worried about that object’s transition in the world or its ultimate fate, as I’m sure he discards the objects used to create his own work once he is done photographing them.

Of course on that note I admit what I’m asking for is probably impossible, as by no means do I expect any artist to have the capacity to work 426,000 discarded cell phones a day (in the US alone) into their artwork. However maybe China has the right idea.

One reason I find this topic so pressing is because I am constantly struggling with my own work, regarding the sheer volume of materials and objects in the world, and more importantly for me when I let go of a material into an artwork, and how I collect and supply my practice; or what do I choose to include and exclude. I’m a pack-rat yes but I know that ultimately I have to let it all go, install it or construct it into something.