We live in a society where most of us are so removed from the reality of how all the stuff we consume is created that we don’t really give it a second thought.
The first public pop-up field lab organised by the What's In My Stuff? team provided the opportunity for participants to discover how mobile phones are made and reveal what's inside them by having a go at taking one apart. Here are some of the images and responses to the experience.
Jewellery objects have a rich history in terms of material and social significance that are intrinsically linked to perceptions of preciousness, value and emotional attachments. It therefore felt appropriate to use this medium as a device for engaging audiences in a commentary about the materials used in mobile phone technology.
Jewellery designer Maria Hanson reclaims, de-constructs, transforms and relocates both material knowledge and fragments from mobile phones into thought provoking jewellery pieces; highlighting how precious or rare the minerals used are. These images show the creative work in progress alongside final jewellery objects. They highlight the way selected fragments are reworked and relocated; transforming the discarded into something precious and jewel-like.
Deconstructing the first few mobile phones not only revealed the technology and materials used which give these objects their functionality but also revealed a hidden beauty. Viewing these individual component parts initially under a macro lens created a method for isolating and framing sections and seeing the decorative and structural qualities of the materials used.
This framing process inspired some of the early creative artwork where component parts are reworked and reused in jewellery that exploits their aesthetic characteristics; giving them a second life and new value. These images show detailed sections of circuit boards, shields, screens, connector pins and other parts that capture the beauty of the forms, patterns and colours.
The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is capable of taking images of objects and materials with magnifications ranging from 100 to over 100,000 times their original scale. It is particularly suitable for examining rough surfaces as, unlike a conventional optical microscope, the entire surface is in focus at the same time. By using the X-rays emitted from the material under investigation, it is possible to find out which chemical elements are present and whereabouts they are in the material. We have utilised this process of material analysis to help us build a more complete understanding of What's In My Stuff?