“I asked for a car and got a computer”
Fans who cannot bear to attend games of the Korea Baseball Organization’s last place team, the Hanwha Eagles, can have a robot with their own avatar stand in for them to cheer on the losing team. Called “Fanbots,” these mechanical motivators are used to start rallys and get the real live attendees to do the wave, or as it’s apparently known outside of North America, the “Mexican Wave.”
This fall, artists Leon Reid IV and Ryan Seslow are planning a technology inspired installation called “Technophemera” on the campus of LIU Post in Long Island. Here, we speak with Leon about the upcoming project and future of technology in our consumer-based society.
What is Technophemera, and where did the idea for this collaboration come from?
Good Question! Technophemera is a time capsule that preserves our technology. The concept came from a 2 year conversation with my partner Ryan Seslow; he was already casting hardware in concrete and reached out to me for a collaboration. I was amazed by the level of detail captured in the casts -especially with concrete- so I brought my installation background to the table. I decided that these objects needed a strong conceptual reason for being reproduced and felt that the time capsule model best fit Ryan’s casts.
Is there a commentary on landfills here, or is that a stretch?
Well, it’s really the speed at which technology advances -and becomes useless. That’s the point we’re trying to make here. Rather, that’s what we’re trying to reflect here. I wouldn’t say we’re making commentary but reflecting a truth.
How did you select the digital devices that will be included in the installation? Is there a specific time period you’re pulling from?
We were thinking of casting strictly 20th century items -like Apple III, floppy discs etc.- but I think we’re gonna do the whole shebang up to cell phones and tablets -as they too will evolve and change in appearance as time goes on.
Was there a reason why you chose poured concrete over other castable materials?
Another good one! Concrete is a cheap and durable material and the whole process can be done at my Greenpoint studio. Casting in bronze, and so on, would cost a fortune and we just wanted to keep the project within a reasonable scope.
What will be the final size of Technophemera, and how deep will it be buried?
Well, we’d like to bury Technophemera below the ‘frost line’ -this is the topmost part in the soil where moisture in the ground freezes. We need to bury it below that because continuous melting and freezing of water over time will probably harm the casts and potentially push them out of the ground. I’d estimate between 5-6 feet deep and hopefully 10ft x 10ft length and width. It depends on what we’re allowed to do on the campus of LIU Post [where it is planned for installation].
Once filled with earth, will there be any markers left behind to signify the artifacts beneath?
You know, we hadn’t thought about that, but maybe it’s a good idea! Yeah I mean how would people know? But at the same time I like the idea of making future archaeologists very happy by allowing them to discover Technophemera without help.
Since you’re immortalizing the past technology, where do you see it heading in the future?
I see technology advancing more toward software than hardware. A new app is born every day but hardware has to go through a slower process -manufacturing and that kind of thing. Devices are becoming smaller and closer to our bodies. In the future, maybe the human body will be the hardware, and our apps will be created simply by thinking? Don’t quote me on that though!!
As of 7/24, there are 7 days left to help make Technophemera a reality, and there are lots of great rewards if you do choose support the project.
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