What would be your reaction after seeing a fold of electronics and mountains of discarded devices thrown away because it’s either not working anymore, or it’s just out of date?
This is what Julia Christensen tries to find in her research-based art project “Upgrade Available”. It started after Christensen unexpectedly visited a landfill of e-waste in India in 2012. It’s a series of works that include photography, large-scale installations, and archived materials.
What I found remarkable about Christensen’s work is the self-reflection that it encourages in relation to our own experience of time and upgrade culture, as she calls it. The work is an invitation to artists, as practitioners as much as consumers, to rethink how they legitimize their usage and consumption of technology while producing art. One can say that it’s not only in art production but also in the way artists preserve and archive their work, data, and research that operates digitally for almost all disciplinaries, and that will need us to think for how long we would be able to operate it and get access to our data within the unstoppable desire of upgrade.
Images courtesy: Julia Christensen Website