Making art with spare parts and 10Bitworks

Submitted by lcarter on January 23, 2014 - 5:55am

Last weekend's event hosted by spare parts and 10BitWorks Hackerspace was what I like to think of as a creative confluence of artists, geeks and a bit of new media thrown in from The CMCollective.

Billed as "take it apart and make art," participants -- representing a variety of ages, backgrounds and interests--came together to safely deconstruct beyond-repair electronics.

Things such a keyboards, hard drives, boom boxes, printers and more, were dismantled into their tiniest parts. Then, the creative kicked in and gave new life to electronic bits and pieces in the form of artworks! Marie Ericsson, "Creative MacGyver," had many wonderful supplies like ribbons, pins, glue guns, old boxes, frilly pieces of something etc., and examples of electronic art for inspiration.

You might ask why use this medium? Besides the infinite possibility of artistic expression, it was to bring awareness to the dastardly state of dead electronics.
A few of the sad statistics  about E-Waste are listed below:

  • Only 12.5 percent of e-waste is currently recycled.80 to 85 percent of electronic products were discarded in landfills or incinerators, which can release certain toxics into the air.
  • E-waste represents 2 percent of America's trash in landfills, but it equals 70 percent of overall toxic waste. The extreme amount of lead in electronics alone causes damage in the central and peripheral nervous systems, the blood and the kidneys.
  • 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year.


Check out the Flickr slideshow of the workshop to see some of the taking apart and making art. Most of these pictures were taken by my 12 year-old granddaughter, Eve.

Thanks to Don Smeller, design engineer and Hackerspace member, for demonstrating to Eve and me a 3D printer actually made at Hackerspace. In my tiny mind I hadn't previously been able to visualize a 3D printer. I feel so much smarter now that I know how one works -- well sort of.

So, there were a lot of strange pieces of dead electronic innards left over. I asked Mike Perez from 10BitWorks what was to become of them. He let me know they will used in other creations at 10Bitworks' event on Saturday, March 8, happening as part of SXSW Create 2014.

About spare parts: Mary Elizabeth Cantu, founder and director, is fast making spare parts a major resource for creative reuse education in San Antonio and beyond.

From the website: spare parts inspires and supports the growing San Antonio creative community and our PreK-12 schools through environmental accountability. spare parts believes arts programs centered on creative reuse builds smart, sustainable initiatives. This increases the creative & cultural energy of our city.

About 10bitWorks Hackerspace: Sharing--resources, space, skill-sets, knowledge, equipment--that's what a hackerspace does by definition. 10bitworks Hackerspace, a nonprofit located at 1020 Roosevelt, is reaching out at the grassroots level by partnering with other nonprofits, artists, software programmers, techies and DIY enthusiasts.

"In founding 10bitworks with Mike Perez and Jeremy Zunker, we envisioned becoming a part of the greater community," said 10bitworks co-founder Chris Hardee.Their diverse membership consists of: amateur radio operators, video and board game designers, machinists, programmers, retired NASA engineers, embedded systems engineers, mixed-media artists, and college students.

About Convergent Media and the CMCollective: Joey Lopez, who teaches New Media in the Communications Arts Department at University of the Incarnate Word, is the impetus behind CMCollective which consists of artists, tech geeks, teachers, musicians, new media artists, social media professionals, photographers, activists. 

From their website: Our collaborations revolve around working with non-profits on cutting edge projects.  It has brought a reciprocal learning and mentoring experience where the collective learns from each other and also learn from the clients they work with.  In return the clients are exposed to cutting edge work and new ways of thinking about production.