i would not exaggerate one bit if i said that my livelihood and my life itself was dependent on my computer. i am on my fourth macbook pro and have gone through numerous traveling vessels of the digital highway before them.
i am very much a gadget freak: i had to have an ipod when there wasn't even a click wheel, yet (anyone remember? there were buttons above the wheel...) and naturally i've had an ipad since june although they're still not available in finland and getting apps is a slight hassle. i tap on my iphone constantly and have a habit of clicking and twirling any other phones or players my friends might be carrying.
gadgets are my toys, but also my way to enter and activate reality; my online being is deeply intertwined with my irl (sic!) being and i have trouble grasping people who consider online life somehow distinct, less real or more artificial than physical interaction. "real", for me, does not mean outside digital...
i am, very much, a harawayan cyborg: a being whose sense of the world cannot be explained without machines nor can my sense of reality be understood without digital realities. in other words, a bonafide nerd who rejects dichotomous binaries and boundaries between natural and artificial.
therefore, sometimes it is extremely healthy to pick the bubble of exclusivity – which the ability to be a cyborg in the previously mentioned sense undoubtedly is – and take a look at the cost of my transcendence.
despite never owning a car – and feeling some sense of satisfaction over it – i contribute to a waste problem of a gigantic sort. i sometimes wonder where the tools of my trade and my escapism have ended up once they've been deemed useless.
pieter hugo's permanent error is a collection of photos taken at agbogbloshie market, ghana. as one of the largest wastelands of the digital revolution, it is a toxic environment full of the corpses our freeriding on the information highway produces.
of the 50 million tons of digital waste western countries produce each year, only a fraction is handled here and recycled. the rest of the old hardware is shipped from europe and the us to developing countries supposedly as "digital aid", but ends up burned for its metal contents producing corrosive fumes and polluting the soil.
all pics from here.
the apocalyptic images of melted plastic and recognizable parts are hard enough to grasp, but when people appear as parts of the equation, i see a cyborg of a different type, of a kind whose world has not been enlarged or enhanced by endless improvements of technology. there's no transcendence here, only immanence and restriction.
it seems powerful images are sometimes needed as a reminder of the dystopic side our utopia is built on.