Recycling Yantra

a project by Claude Hidber and Raphael Perret

Some thoughts to start with.
After ten years of work in the electronic arts, we wanted to know more about what happens with old devices and what this means as a society and global entity.

Yesterday’s very latest.

The Veil
We are living behind a veil In our western society. Artifacts appear in stores, we buy them and after they reached their lifetime disappear under mysterious circumstances. The bigger part of a product’s reality, it’s production and afterlife,  remain hidden. Therefore we are interested in closing the circle and having look into the dark side of the trade as well as our society.


new new new


The Promise of the Future
Another phenomena that needs to be mentioned is the never ending promise of a better life (or even a better world) with the newest feature/ gadget/ product/ technology/ upgrade/ version/ … you name it to have more, feel better and be faster. Yes, our future is bloated with promises, yet I never had the impression of having arrived there. Anyhow, on the way there, we leave a tremendous trail of data and outdated technology behind. Which of course needs to be dealt with one way or another. Don’t be disturbed, it will most probably be somebody else’s job, somewhere far away.


An early critical book by Siegel & Markoff: The High Cost of High Tech”, 1985, part of book cover

The green image
For some reason electronics and virtual space have an image of being clean technology. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. For one, the trading and mining of primary goods  and rare earths are a pretty dirty business. Furthermore production of chips is a business soaked in chemicals and as we all know the assembly in china very distant from our way of life.

Further Reading:
Siegel and Markoff, The High Cost of High Tech
Gabrys, Digital Rubbish


Data and the politics of the virtual
All newly produced data is linked with the promise of enough energy to actually use it in the future. This liability of energy emerges as its medium needs to be constantly updated in order to keep up with compatibility. What’s needed is a politics of the virtual, intangible, abstract and very very remote consumption. Because every YouTube movie requires quite some juice to be available and transfer to your device. Yet strangely, this doesn’t show anywhere, nor do you directly pay for it. For what we cannot touch or see, we seem to have difficulties integrating it with all consequences in our living environment.


William Gibson had it right with his cyberpunk novels. Did you ever wonder why our environment doesn’t look like in the cyberpunk stories? Maybe that is because we keep the cyber and pass on the punk? (Image: Filmstill from Johnny Mnemonic)

Trash Export
It has become common knowledge, that a plethora of electronic waste from Europe and America ends up in Africa, China and India. According to trustworthy sources, Switzerland is small enough and has the necessary laws in place that no electronic waste should be exported. Nevertheless, as we understand ourselves being part of the so called western society, we take the liberty to look beyond borders and make a statement about the aforementioned concerns.


The Doors
As William Blake wrote in his poem ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell’: “If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.” Rest assured, we are not starting a new rock band. Yet, we invite you to rub your eyes, cleanse the looking glass and poke holes into the veil, for infinity may unfold into your consciousness.

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