Logic Box drafts artists to sculpt technology waste

If you see Lynn Mack standing by the Logic Box booth at Comdex Canada 2002 this week, ask her about the earrings.

They are green and gold, and if you look closely you will see that they were made from the slot connectors (or “”goldfingers,””

as they’re sometimes called) of old circuit boards. She’ll also be wearing a broach made from a broken CPU. In this sense, Mack will be a walking gallery for Logic Box’s first artist-in-residence program, which strives to find beauty in IT equipment normally consigned to the disposal bin.

Mack, Logic Box’s artist-in-residence program manager, said the company has two artists working in the basement of its Mississauga, Ont.-based headquarters on a number of projects that will be crafted from the approximately one million pounds of used computers the firm collects each year.

“”It’s another extension of recycling,”” she said. “”It’s not original that you make art out of garbage.””

Logic Box considers itself a first-tier recycler in that it refurbishes working old machines and puts them into inventory. Anything that doesn’t work is stripped of components. If the hard drive or circuit boards work, those go into inventory as well. These are sorted into gaylords that typically measure 4-ft. x 4-ft. x 4-ft. and could weigh between 600 and 1,000 pounds, Mack said. Plastics and casings or physically broken parts normally go to the grinders and smelters.

“”Plastics are very hard to recycle,”” she said. “”You know when you see those greyish park benches and flowerpots? That was once your printer.””

Ellen Chiu, a University of Guelph student and one of the artists at Logic Box, said she was attracted to the novelty of the program and the idea of working with the components.

“”It’s not a concern that most computer companies would deal with in this fashion. It’s great both environmentally and artistically,”” she said. “”The components themselves tend to be very colourful. They’re very strong shapes that are very angular and geometrical.””

Chiu said she and the other artist, Ontario College of Art and Design student Kevin Mayo, are working on a set of chairs and a coffee table in their warehouse studio.

The frames for the chairs are made out of carved foam, which are spray-painted and inlaid with computer parts. The coffee table, meanwhile, has a see-through plastic top with chips embedded into it and monitors for the legs.

“”To be in sculpture, you really have to have a good balance of materials,”” Mayo said.

“”There are a lot of artists that have used second-hand parts like cars You could look at (Pablo) Picasso, who took shovels and turned them into organic creatures.””

While the artists’ work won’t significantly reduce the amount of equipment Logic Box discards, Mark said she hopes it inspires the industry.

“”We think by making art through an unconventional approach, it could be a catalyst for other people to jump on this idea and perhaps take it further in ways that we haven’t thought of,”” she said.

Logic Box art will be available for sale through eBay this fall.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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