|Lewis Hine, Breakers, Pennsylvania Coal Co. (circa 1908-1912)|
Cut to the 21st century. In American cities once known for making things in the 20th century, the factories have faded away or have been turned into monuments or condos. The biggest employers in many cities are hospitals perhaps treating the people who used to make things? The job of making things has moved elsewhere while America's appetite for electronic devices and fast food continues to grow. Where do all those broken cell phones and blown out hard drives and old TVs land? Other than a few obscure documentaries like Ghana: Digital Dumping Ground or Edward Burtynsky's Manufactured Landscapes, the final resting place of digital waste is not discussed often enough. Lewis ended his lecture with an Edward Burtynsky's photograph. A blur of faceless workers clad in pink jumpsuits working in a plant processing chicken in Jilin Province, China maybe to satisfy the ongoing appetite for McNuggets. Burtynsky's ouvre also includes the byproducts of these times. Staggering accumulations of mother boards and computer cables in China forming both landscapes and monuments reminding us of both labor and unchecked consumption.
|Edward Burtynsky, Manufacturing #17, China, 2005|
|Edward Burtynsky, Recycling #9, China, 2004|