The Big Switch Off

Video:2min

The Big Switch Off, 2011

Production: Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

The project deals with the question of what is waste and what is litter. What we consider safe waste, which we recycle, will become litter proper in the Third World, where it will probably end up. In the “Essay on Litter: Wiki-Garbage Management” in Dnevnik’s Objektiv, Luka Omladič says that litter consists of those things that annoy us, the things that should not be where they are. Like an alien, they stand out from their surroundings and they make it disgustingly clear that someone has tossed them away and that they will remain there for a long time. Yet, not all litter is waste, Omladič says, at least not in the sense that would deeply annoy us. And cast-off television sets simply do not annoy us. In fact, it is precisely the migration of waste that constitutes major hidden pollution, and this often happens far away from the developed countries that produce waste. It is there, far away from the developed countries, that waste becomes litter. There, their characteristics become unpleasant again and stand out from the surroundings.

Sedlaček makes visible the relation between waste and litter.
Using the old analogue technology, which has been increasingly displaced by the new digital technology, he produces litter here and now. Instead of “safely” recycling televisual technology, which is becoming obsolete due to the new technological paradigm, the introduction of digital signal and, consequently, the mass replacement of analogue television sets with LCDs and plasma TVs, let’s rather publicly break it into pieces. Let’s do what we are going to do anyway, one way or another, sooner or later – let’s do it together and publicly.

Due to the introduction of digital signal in 2011, which has replaced the analogue signal, the West has witnessed mass destruction of old technology. Cathode television sets, TVs without digital converters, VHS and DVD players are a thing of the past, for they do not support new technology. Sooner or later, we will all be forced to replace the old with the new. Already now, the sellers of contemporary electronics keep offering us replacements of this kind. Yet, the story of old technology is not over when we replace old devices with new ones. And it does not end at the electronics dumping ground either. In fact, this is where their journey only begins. Old electronics is being exported into Third World countries, however, this is already an entirely different story…

Mass destruction of analogue TV sets, Photo: Marko Sedlaček