Have You Met Betty?

Edinburgh Science Festival highlights the scale of e-waste with a special art commission, Devouring Technology, showing at the National Musueum.Betty is a basking shark created from discarded keyboards by Edinburgh-based artist Johnathan Elders for a special art installation called Devouring Technology.

Native to Scottish waters, basking sharks are colossal but harmless creatures, living on tiny plankton they sift out of the water. As the second-largest living shark, they are constant consumers, with their gaping mouths on a never-ending hunt for food.

This special installation aims to highlight the issue of e-waste humanity faces. Modern society ‘devours’ technology, with a constant appetite for newer, better and faster things. What happens to the masses of the unwanted items we leave behind though? How can we prevent them from clogging our oceans and landscapes? The installation invites its visitors to explore how we can turn the tide on our hunger for tech in a more sustainable direction.

Artist Johnathan Elders said: “The basking shark (who I’ve been affectionately calling Betty) is the embodiment of the scale and nature of our electronic waste problem. A colossal creature made up of a tiny part of the vast ocean of the e-waste that we produce. Swimming along, mouth wide open, endlessly consuming without any consideration. This is how I feel about our own attitude to the electronic goods, always hungry for the newest tech, but not stopping to consider the impact of our throwaway culture.”

“I wanted to try and capture the scale of the electronic waste problem and highlight some of the issues created when we ship off our e waste to countries where its processing is not so well regulated.”

The installation was created with generous donations of unwanted electronics from CCL North, HomeSpring and Hacklab. Until 21 April.


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