Hard Copy is a series of ten photographs of media collections that have been stored for years or decades, although they will probably never be accessed again due to obsolescence. Everyone has a collection like this: a box of old zip disks or VHS tapes that they just can’t seem to throw away, a sort of appendage that they can’t cut off. Our recordings become extensions of our own memories and identities, although their technological and personal relevance fades over time.
This illuminates an over-arching question about the e-waste crisis: when do our personal recordings actually cross the line and become “trash?” We have a strong desire to save the recordings that we make, buy, and consume, as if these collections embody our personalities on tape. And yet they inevitably become obsolete, we outgrow our recordings, and they become less relevant. How much trash is generated in aggregate by our personal collections of VHS tapes, CD’s, slides, photo albums? This is an informative visualization in an age when our memories are stored discreetly on servers, hard drives, and computers. Digital files or hard copies, how do we properly dispose of this stuff once it is no longer needed?
We have a desire to save these things for future generations, as if our legacy will live on in our magnetic tapes, our DVD’s, and our .jpg files. We may question how future generations will deal with the memories that we leave behind on a personal, family scale. But the more important question is: how will future generations deal with the material generated by our memories on a large, global scale?
Giclée prints, 21 x 14 inches, series of 10