Virtuality Mortality and Electronic Waste Responsibility

The Big Heap at Virtuality Mortality

XAP and guest artists creatively inhabited the spectacular spaces at 47/49 Tanner Street over the weekend 14th-15th October, as part of Ugly Duck‘s creative programme for 2017.

Part of the joy of being involved in a project of this sort is having the chance to experiment. Most of the works were created especially for the project, and many were developed over the weekend in repsonse to the site and feedback.  The performance programme was especially enjoyed by audiences, including some quite challenging and difficult works.

Our Tech Vet, Dave Lukes, was kept busy with ailing gadgets.  The Big Heap of vintage, dying and broken technology brought some nostalgic responses (“Ooh, can I have that old Commodore when you’re finished?”).  We learned a lot.  But there is still a long way to go – at least as far as the UK is concerned – in dealing responsibly with electronic waste (WEEE – waste electrical and electronic equipment).  We were forcefully reminded of this when it came to take down the Big Heap at the end of the project.  Much of it was gratefully snapped up for collections, some for repair.  Small WEEE recycling is quite well catered for in London, with street-side bins, but the bureaucracy of borough-based recycling serivces for larger WEEE was frustrating.  There’s still a long way to go.  Quite literally.  It shouldn’t be necessary to drive waste across London (Southwark to Haringey) in order to dispose of it responsibly, but that’s what we had to do.  It’s good to see that people like the Restart Project are advocating change – educating, facilitating and encouraging an attitutde of ‘let’s fix it’, and promoting legislation requiring manufacturers to make their devices openly repairable.