Nathan Wilson and Andrew Godsalve Present:
The Latest Tech
The Latest Tech is a collaborative art installation that examines the materiality of tech devices, appropriating the codified language and aesthetics of tech marketing in order to contextualize the political economy. Devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets are branded and sold by marketers without reference to the ecological implications of their material composition. Metallic elements essential to the functioning of these devices are the products of slow temporalities in mineral formations, along with complex socioenvironmental circumstances relating to their mining and industrial refinement. The Latest Tech critiques the industry’s mandate of planned obsolescence by presenting these material histories within the form of a contemporary cellphone kiosk, with a suite of four “tech elements” presented in lieu of the latest smartphone models. Tantalum, for instance, is embedded in deep temporal and spatial networks before it enables a smartphone’s microcapacitor. From its igneous beginnings in the mineral ore coltan, to its problematic extraction funding civil wars in the Congo, the many facets of tantalum are presented through imagery and consumer-oriented marketing language. Each element’s accompanying “brochure” takes an expanded view of media materiality and focuses it upon the idea of waste. Alongside an examination of the possible Anthropocenic future-lives of tech devices as sedimentary accumulations of e-waste, this investigation also explores alternating conceptions of “waste” that accompany tech materiality before and during devices’ intended lifespans. Consideration is given to the idea of mineral ores as “waste” or by-products generated from the volcanic processes of the earth, as well as to the mining of “technogenic” ores, such as palladium extraction through soil surface deposits resultant from secondary smelting pollution in Norilsk, Russia. What is the real cost of fast fashion in the industry of technology, and how much longer can our planet support The Latest Tech?
Bio: Andrew Godsalve and Nathan Wilson obtained their MFA degrees from NSCAD University in Halifax, Canada in 2018. As a collaborative duo, Godsalve and Wilson seek to open new ways of perceiving geology and crystallography through artistic exploration. At the core of their practice is a desire to confront states of matter and orders of time that transcend human scale. By speculating upon deep time, atomic structures and other inaccessible spheres through architectonic sculpture, photo-montage and writing, Godsalve and Wilson present alternative conceptions of matter and agency.