Stern was inspired by the ecological perspective to begin to wonder how his iPhone would disintegrate over time and what it would look like in a million years. To advance the exhibition project now debuting, the teacher and artist has spent the last few years “torturing” gadgets and exposing them to extreme conditions such as high temperatures and pressure to simulate the passage of time. The end result was the “Phossils”, a mixture of fossil and telephone in English, which will be on display.
«The World of Us is not post-apocalyptic. Instead, it imagines future potentials while asking visitors to be alert about their media in the present, 'reads the description of the exhibit, which opens on January 17 at the Wisconsin Museum of Art.
Stern's work is also inspired by Alan Weissman's book, The World Without Us, which tries to imagine what the world will be like when humans are replaced by other biological life forms.
On one of the walls of this exhibition we see laptops, keyboards, telephones and other e-waste residue covered with mold, and the greenish-colored intertwined wires simulate a strange forest. Through cracks in some of these devices, we see streams of water running and an hourglass that covers a phone with sand every 60 minutes, Cnet reports.
"We have to reinvent what digital junk can be and do in the present," explains the presentation document. Some of the artist's work suggests recycling iMacs to make them hammer and other tools, while circuit boards “reborn” in the form of saws, axes and spatulas.
The exhibition features 250 computers, 100 phones and a few dozen keyboards and mice plus hundreds of feet of tape, network cable and USB cables. These components came from second hand electronics stores and donated by companies that heard about the project.
The artist and crew are committed to recycling as much as they can after the exhibition is over.