backtalk

research / installation
with mit senseable city lab

2011
talk to me explores the communication between people and things. All objects contain information that goes well beyond their immediate use or appearance. In some cases, objects like cell phones and computers exist to provide us with access to complex systems and networks, behaving as gateways and interpreters.

with globalization, the removal chain that takes trash from the garbage can to the processing and recycling facilities is increasingly complex. waste from los angeles could resurface as carpeting in alabama or even clothing in china. backtalk provides insight into the process as it applies to our electronic waste: batteries, sensors, circuit boards, and other components. backtalk tags these defunct electronic devices with a small camera, accelerometers, and location sensors so that they can, in turn, enjoy a “second life” as self-reporting guides into the intricate global networks of e-waste export and reuse. the resulting images offer a unique brand of reportage, allowing glimpses into e-waste recycling villages, thrift stores, public schools, and libraries across the world, and provide silent commentary on our personal and global relationships to these devices.
senseable city lab collaborated with qualcomm inc., the world computer exchange, the peace corps, world teach, and electronic recyclers.

✏ ✏ ✏

in construction

✏ ✏ ✏