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The Artistry of Upcycled E-Waste

by Clean India Journal Editor
3 comments

A small community of artists in India is trying to make a difference by repurposing e-waste by giving discarded electronic products a second life. Vishwanath Mallabadi Davangere from Bangalore, Karnataka, narrates how he strives to express his thoughts through e-waste, which is readily available, low-cost and more importantly, also reduces landfill waste. His spectacular creations have garnered appreciation and found buyers world-wide.

In my journey, I have cultivated an in-depth understanding of each electronic component, viewing them not merely as discarded parts but as my canvas. I chose it as the medium to articulate my thoughts. The inherent characteristics of these components, including color, texture, forms, and shapes, have inspired me to create a fusion between art and technology that goes beyond conventional mediums.

My background in the IT industry has equipped me with a profound understanding of technology, product design fundamentals and the software development lifecycle. All corporate mandates emphasizing social responsibility, CSR, and ESG initiatives further propelled me to contribute to waste management.

My journey into upcycling e-waste began in 2004, marked by extensive research on utilizing unexplored e-waste materials. The goal is to create something distinct — beyond conventional imagination. The joy of accomplishment comes not only from completing these challenging tasks but also from the recognition and appreciation received from peers.

Law of conservation

I thrive on challenging tasks, willingly embracing failures as they contribute to my resilience. One such challenge was finding the ideal universal adhesive capable of bonding various materials, such as plastic and metal, PCB and metal, wood and PCB, among others.

As we are aware, the law of conservation of mass and energy asserts that matter cannot be created or destroyed; it can only undergo transformations. Guided by this principle, I ensure that “nothing goes to waste,” emphasizing the fundamental idea that no waste should be regarded as disposable; rather, it should be repurposed or transformed into another valuable product.

Impact on the environment

E-waste art repurposes discarded electronics, diverting them from landfills and minimizing the environmental impact of electronic waste. By creatively utilizing e-waste, art installations contribute to the concept of zero waste, showcasing the potential to reuse and repurpose materials. E-waste art transforms discarded electronics into aesthetically pleasing installations, demonstrating the possibility of converting waste into functional and beautiful products, he explained.

E-waste art fosters sustainable innovation by challenging artists to think creatively about materials and inspiring others to explore unconventional mediums. Through repurposing e-waste, these art installations also contribute to reducing air and water pollution, minimizing landfill use, and lowering CO2 emissions.

Retired Echoes is an exceptional art installation crafted using discarded mobile phones, primarily featuring keypad devices, meticulously affixed to a 5-foot spherical structure. The underlying concept seeks to convey that outdated or “retired” mobile phones possess a latent value and can find a second life. They still resonate with the echoes of their past use, serving as potent symbols of technological history. This captivating and thought-provoking artwork carries a profound message about the worldwide repercussions of technology and the staggering volume of electronic waste generated daily.

EcoNap-SustainaSleep is a modern Sustainable Sculpture, a Tranquil Masterpiece crafted from 20,000 Keyboard Keys, symbolizes technological relics and raises awareness about sustainable practices. Serving as a symbolic representation of our technological evolution, the sculpture prompts viewers to contemplate the rapid advancement of technology and its environmental consequences, emphasizing the ever-growing issue of e-waste and the need for responsible disposal methods. It encourages self-reflection on consumption habits, serving as a reminder that today’s actions impact the planet’s future. Through art’s power, it sparks conversations, fostering a deeper understanding of environmental challenges and inspiring exploration of innovative solutions for a more sustainable lifestyle-a potent reminder of technological progress and the imperative to embrace sustainability for future generations.

Magnificent Sustainable Cow is a truly extraordinary artistic masterpiece that captivates observers! This captivating sculpture of a cow not only enchants with its aesthetic allure but also signifies a pivotal stride towards a sustainable future. Crafted entirely from recycled materials, this eco-friendly marvel stands as a unique and contemporary art installation.

Adorned with 40,000 waste computer keyboard keys, it serves as a striking embodiment of the intersection between art and sustainability.

Beyond its visual appeal, this artwork also serves as a symbol of our collective responsibility to safeguard and conserve the environment, serving as a poignant reminder of the imperative to protect our planet for generations to come. It stands as a shining testament to our dedication to minimizing electronic waste and underscores our duty as global citizens to preserve and protect our shared home.

The global e-waste art community has put up some famous works like Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates” at Central Park, New York, Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrored Room” and Ai Weiwei’s “Forever Bicycles” in Toronto, Canada. In India we have Nek Chand’s Rock Garden in Chandigarh. Vishwanath himself is proposing a mega art installation for the METRO at Bangalore.  

How did I ideate?Customized fabrication process.
I exclusively use mobile phones with keypads as they possess a distinct character that is absent in the latest touch phones.I extract all electronic components for reuse in my other eco-art creations, utilizing only the chassis.

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