Technological Vanitas

Electronics have become the world’s fastest-growing waste stream. But what becomes of technology when it stops working or can’t be updated? Brooklyn-based photo artist Jeanette May explores this question, crafting still lifes which tap into our complicated relationship with machines. From antique stereoscopes and art deco clocks to Bluetooth headphones, her meticulous collections comprise vintage objects from various time periods, all captured within a single frame.

Shown here are images from two series: Tech Vanitas and Curious Devices. Constructed, staged and artfully lit, the arrangements evoke 17th century Dutch vanitas – drawing on May’s early training as a painter. Some objects, such as microwaves and camcorders, are surrounded by rich silks and damask wallpapers. Others have been taken apart, revealing the intricate architecture of circuit boards, gears and wires.

May’s interest in design is clear. “Each object’s style, colour, and material construction epitomise a period of both aesthetic and technological advancement,” she says. In one striking image, a blue screen glows from a round burgundy monitor. Fibre optic lights glimmer in the background, reflected in a VR lens. To examine these pieces is to move through time; we are reminded of the speed at which technology is developing.

When viewed in this way, the images encourage us to consider the implications of ‘planned obsolesce’: the act of making sure a product will become dated – or even useless – within a given time frame. “In an era overflowing with products, the temptation of worldly goods takes on new meaning,” May explains. “My work examines the present and the past of technology without easy answers but rather, like the Dutch vanitas, with a sense of wonder and trepidation.”

jeanettemay.com

@jeanettemayart

Image Credits: All images by Jeanette May, from the series Tech Vanitas and Curious Devices. © Jeanette May/Courtesy of Klompching Gallery, NY

The post Technological Vanitas appeared first on Aesthetica Magazine.

Share This Post:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

On Key

Related Posts

The Anna Weyant Media Circus Is A Window Into Art World Sexism And Power

“Painter Anna Weyant’s story sounds like a modern-day art fairytale,” writes Smithsonian Magazine about the 27-year-old artist whose work sold for $400 three years ago, but now fetches $1.6 million at auction. Called a “millennial Botticelli” by both the Wall Street Journal and the South China Morning Post, Weyant makes paintings of women and girls

Warhol Family to Sell Student Work, Penn Museum to Bury Skulls of Enslaved People, and More: Morning Links for August 10, 2022

To receive Morning Links in your inbox every weekday, sign up for our Breakfast with ARTnews newsletter. The Headlines SEOUL MATES. Timed with Frieze Seoul, Christie’s and HomeArt will stage a pop-up show in Seoul that pairs the work of Francis Bacon and Adrian Ghenie, per Ocula. The exhibition ran in Hong Kong in May, and includes a reported $440 million of art. Other news from the South Korean capital: The credit

Photographer Spotlight: Jonathan Jasberg

Jonathan Jasberg                                                                                                          

Artist Spotlight: Peter Jojaio

Peter Jojaio                                                                         Peter Jojaio on Twitter Peter Jojaio on Instagram

Scroll to Top

ARE YOU IN?

Yes! Sign me up for AFYC's weekly newsletter featuring valuable info for artists, nonprofits, upcoming contests, and our new product offerings.

Count Me In!