Burnouts is a series of five sculptural video projectors Christensen designed and fabricated using 3D printed plastic for the outer cases, lenses and mirrors stripped from trashed overhead projectors for the projection mechanism, and discarded iPhones as the sole light source. This juxtaposition of outdated and current technologies comments on obsolescence, and how quickly the new becomes the old in upgrade culture. The light of the iPhone is directed through the system of lenses and mirrors, before the image is projected on to the ceiling.
The animations projected by the sculptures are of constellations in the night sky that are still there, but have been retired from official star maps because we can no longer see them from the planet Earth, primarily due to light pollution. As star charts are updated to reflect these cosmic shifts, the field of astronomy determines which constellations are no longer useful to the study of the stars, and removes them from night sky maps. Due to this scientific phenomenon, there is a list of star constellations currently in retirement. Five of these constellations were named after technological devices—The Hot Air Balloon, Herschel’s Telescope, The Sundial, The Electric Generator, and The Printing Office. In order to create animations of these star groups, Christensen worked with astronomers and a planetarium staff to locate where they were once been visible. She then digitized obsolete star maps to produce rotating images of the forgotten constellations.
The projection of these five obsolete star groups is a poetic metaphor for the technology producing the image: just as the constellations are still there and yet no longer in use, so are our own outdated gadgets.
Video installation (five sculptural video projectors made of 3D-printed plastic, lenses, mirrors; five iPhones; video animation)
++""Media Artist Julia Christensen Turns Old iPhones into Art", Video produced by Creative Capital
++"Julia Christensen," by Kris Paulsen, Bomb Magazine Blog
++"We Talked To The Artist Turning E-Waste Into Projected Star Maps," by Willa Koerner, VICE/Creator's Project