“Catastrophe or salvation?” asks Various and Gould. “Being offline is scary and disastrous to most of us, however for some of us it might evoke the feeling of freedom through digital detox.”
A departure from their typical work and on-the-street installations, the Berlin duo are taking over advertising spaces and bus shelters with images of broken, smashed crystals of digital phones. The smart phone displays are transferred using the venerable intaglio print technique at a large scale, transforming the shattered smart phone displays into works of art.
“We love the beauty and the random and unique structure of the damaged displays,” they tell us of the new works that are illuminated from behind and contain none of the typical insignia or clever ad copy that evoke desire in consumers.
Perhaps more subtle than the activist messages of other hi-jackers of private ad space in public space, these images of brokenness are meant to draw our attention to the fragility of our devices as well as our tenuous connection to the ephemeral information we so greedily consume from them daily.
Not only are these broken screens, they indirectly could be interpreted as a critique of our broken social scenes that have been shattered and fragmented by our slavish reliance on these small glowing rectangles.
Part of a campaign they entitle simply, “Broken Screens” the two say we could stand to consider the power we have given to our smart phones – a charge which may seem obvious but we may actually overlook.
“It also discloses the flaws of these devices, which we use every day almost 24/7 and which we carry around on every occasion,” they say. “The project really attracts us, having raw destruction and dysfunction as a starting point.”