I have a considerable amount of electronics waste in my house. From motherboards to hard drives to printers, a combination of my work in IT and my roommate’s propensity for gathering E-waste has lead to a house filled with useless gadgets. My goal with this project was to turn the E-waste that I am so annoyed by into something that can really appreciate.
With material choice secured early on, the question lies in what to make with it. There is no shortage of art using electronics on the internet, a quick cursory search results in the likes of the artist Gregory Arth making beautiful paintings using circuit boards as a canvas.
Photo credit: Gregory Arth
Photo credit: LoadingStill
After researching for inspiration I turned to look at what I had available to me. I knew I had plenty of electronics but I wanted to know what specifically caught my eye. Upon searching through my shelves I found a few pieces that caught my eye.
The materials I was working with were a few old spinning disk hard drives, some resistors, capacitors (both electrolytic and ceramic), LEDs, and step-up transformers. The old hard drives looked the most interesting to me, their complexity and reflective surfaces drew me in. In particular I really started to look at the read-write heads, the little key shapes pieces that touch the reflective platters to transfer data.
They have a very dynamic shape and I enjoy their silver and copper color palette so I started to remove these read-write heads from each of the hard drives. I had to be extremely careful as to not damage them since they are extremely fragile.
This is what the undamaged ones looked like after I removed them.
Fortunately, I also have a large amount of jewelry making equipment in my home that I could pair with these electronics. I started playing in this space, making jewelry out of the different components and seeing how much I liked the end result.
This process resulted in a lot of trial and error, most of my time was spent removing materials after I realized I didn’t like them.
Manipulating the tiny pieces of jewelry was also quite difficult for my hands. I’m not the most dexterous person and I have to be very focused in order to bend wires with any accuracy.
Finally, I ended up with a necklace and two earrings that I was happy with. I stayed with a simplistic design since the electronics themselves already felt very busy. Every time I addes more components I started to like the pieces less.
My design process for this project was complicated, but it always is when I work on creative projects. I don’t normally define my process in terms of a flow chart or one step after the other but rather like a equation, similar to the equation for combustion, where if all needed elements are in place then I start to create things I’m happy with. The equation goes as follows:
Inspiration + Space + Motivation = Creation
Inspiration here meaning the consumption of content to inspire ideas. If i wanted to write a book I would read, if I wanted to pain I would go to art galleries to see paintings. Nothing is created in a vaccum and I have found that I need inspiration to work.
Space here means both physical, mental, and temporal space. I need to be relatively free to explore ideas and have enough time and mental energy to do so.
Motivation here is exactly as it sounds, simply my motivation to get things done, if I am entirely unmotivated or depressed then I am unable to create.
I had a lot of fun working on this project. The meticulous jewelry work was calming and I ended up with something I was happy with. I am looking forward to the main project in this class!