Profane Relics, an installaton by Ryan Burns, examines the price paid for high-tech gadgetry. Inside SEA Change Gallery, an immense crate has been pried open to reveal objects contained in the matrix. These objects tell the story of the past twenty years of war and mineral exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The artifacts and waste of cultural disarticulation and total war lie with the crude hand-tools of small pit mining; traces of the bushmeat trade jumbled together with discarded high-tech ephemera—smartphones and laptops—capacitors are assembled of Congolese coltan. Who threw these away? Lost them? Who dug them up?
During the exhibit, the gallery hosted Eco-Cell drop boxes (www.eco-cell.org) where used cellphones were deposited for recycling. SEA Change also hosted a Community Dinner + Conversation to deeply explore the conflict in the Congo and brainstorm solutions.
“Art show rethinks gadgets’ cost”
Written by Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian