COLLAPSE

2011

Technological innovation is most often viewed as positive, constructive change, and computer technology especially tends to be greeted with enthusiasm.  But little thought is generally given to information loss due to planned (and unplanned) obsolescence or to the possibility that our civilization could—as many great civilizations historically have—eventually collapse.  If and when this occurs, will anyone be able to access the vast stores of knowledge we have accumulated on servers, discs, and hard drives?  Given that the general public response to warnings of global climate change has been tepid at best, this piece is a meditation on the possible outcome of a failure to act in our own best interest.

 

Composed of four hand-embroidered floppy discs and four blank ones, the fleeting and mediated nature of digital technology is contrasted with the immediate and enduring quality of visual information and handmade artifacts.  Each of the four cross-stitched disks depict the flowers of plants that have for centuries been of use to humankind for stimulants, clothing, paint, drugs, construction material, and medicine, and stand in for all we need and take for granted from our natural world.  Standing in stark contrast to these, the empty disks represent the potential loss of both ecosystem and knowledge.

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Each of the eight components in this piece has its own title:

 

“01000011 01101111 01100110 01100110 01100101 01100101 (Coffee)”

“01001111 01101100 01101001 01110110 01100101 (Olive)”

“01001100 01101001 01101110 01110011 01100101 01100101 01100100 (Linseed)”

“01001100 01100001 01110110 01100101 01101110 01100100 01100101 0111001 (Lavender)”

“01000001 01110000 01110000 01101100 01100101 (Apple)”

“01010000 01101111 01110000 01110000 01111001 (Poppy)”

“01010011 01100001 01101110 01100100 01100001 01101100 01110111 01101111 01101111 01100100 (Sandalwood)”

“01000101 01110101 01100011 01100001 01101100 01111001 01110000 01110100 01110101 01110011 (Eucalyptus)”