Maarten Vanden Eynde

Technofossil (Samsung E570), D.R. Congo, 2015

Technofossil (Samsung E570), D.R. Congo, 2015

As humans have colonised and modified Earth’s surface they have progressively developed more sophisticated tools and technologies. These underpin a new kind of stratigraphy, for which Jan Zalasiewicz (Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy) coined the term ‘technostratigraphy.’ This is marked by the geologically accelerated evolution and diversification of ‘technofossils’ – the non-degradable material remains of the ‘technosphere’. Almost all electrical appliances are made out of electronic circuit boards, all of which have copper wiring that in many cases originates from copper mines in the DR Congo. Most mine workers or 'creuseurs' have no idea themselves what the materials they are extracting are used for. The global information revolution and knowledge distribution made possible by the Internet and the computers and smartphones that access it, does not connect to the material point of origin. The gap between the beginning and the end, between cause and consequence, is unbelievably 'big'.

'Technofossils' brings both worlds closer together by sculpting the phones directly into the rocks, as if they were always there, waiting to be discovered or liberated.