February 12&14, 2015
Arriving at Alaba market, plasma screens boast their sizes, the high volume speaker output defies the unruly street noises. Walk against the traffic, snake through the kekes, make yourself invisible, the sky opens up as we reach the end-of-market’s e-waste dumpsite.
A landscape fictionalized – cows fed on the e-waste roam the hills, weight scale hung aloft, loads of metal parts carried by heads, old TVs transported by hand trucks, boys, young men, elders, dealers, buyers, sellers engage with each other – unscrewing, hammering, sorting, pounding, weighing, Naira exchange hands. Smoke rises as un-wanted cables and parts are burnt on the not-so-distant hills.
At the workshop space, I work with/for Basiru, 26 year old, who dissects circuit boards for parts that can be recycled and worthy of some Naira.
Aluminum – 170ngn per KG
Copper - 1000ngn per KG
Blue panel – 800ngn per KG
Resister – 100ngn per KG
The workers form a circle around the pile of circuit boards. Basiru hammers down the board, retrieves the parts containing copper, I untangle the copper threads. All valuable parts are sorted, each in its own storage pots. Some chitchats are exchanged in native tongues. The sun is high, the pile goes from high to low and high again as more are dumped constantly. The ‘un’natural resources seem to be inexhaustible. Make and unmake, the technology chases its own tails. Print and unprint, the broken circuits fail the promises.
Research project with
BODIES OF PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London