The Big Switch Off, 2011
The story of old technology is not over when we replace old devices with new ones. And it does not end at the electronics dumping ground either. In fact, this is where their journey only begins. Old electronics is being exported into Third World countries.
The project deals with the question of what is waste and what is litter. What we consider safe waste, which we recycle, will become litter proper in the Third World, where it will probably end up. Litter consists of those things that annoy us, the things that should not be where they are. Like an alien, they stand out from their surroundings and they make it disgustingly clear that someone has tossed them away and that they will remain there for a long time. Yet, not all litter is waste, at least not in the sense that would deeply annoy us. And cast-off television sets simply do not annoy us. In fact, it is precisely the migration of waste that constitutes major hidden pollution, and this often happens far away from the developed countries that produce waste. It is there, far away from the developed countries, that waste becomes litter. There, their characteristics become unpleasant again and stand out from the surroundings.
Video Big Switch Off makes visible the relation between waste and litter, by producing litter here and now. Instead of “safely” recycling televisual technology, which is becoming obsolete due to the new technological paradigm, the introduction of digital signal and, consequently, the mass replacement of analogue television sets with LCDs and plasma TVs, let’s rather publicly break it into pieces. Let’s do what we are going to do anyway, one way or another, sooner or later – let’s do it together and publicly.
Sašo Sedlaček’s work is in general defined with theories of disposal, with use and reuse of cheap technologies and waste materials. His practical and humorous works result from a subversive re-cycling of scientific, legal or technological facts, employing DIY (do-it-yourself) and collaborative methods. He participated in numerous solo and group shows among others in Secession, Vienna, 6th Taipei Biennial, Museum of Modern art Ljubljana, Belgrade October Saloon, Ars Electronica Linz, Museumsquartir Vienna … He received several awards for his work, such as the OHO Award (Ljubljana, New York), SPAPORT award from the Banja Luka Museum of Contemporary Art, 2008 VIDA 11 special mention (Madrid)… Residencies include ISCP, New York, US, IAMAS, Japan, Ministry of culture studio in London and Berlin.
The project presents different prototypes of toilets which generate energy by recycling excrement. We can see the contemporary mobile AcDcWc, which can be used at home, or as a chemical toilet while camping. A variant of the mobile chemical toilet is the AcDcWc potty, which is smaller, and consequently produces less energy. The project also showcases a prototype of a public mobile AcDcWc model, which can be used in public places with a greater throughput of people, and shows a futuristic sewage system that could generate greater quantifiers of energy and supply large electricity consumers. The design of AcDcWc toilets is based on Indian technology called Deenbandhu, meaning ”helpful for the poor”, developed by Indian technologists for the poorer classes of Indian society. Sedlaček’s upgraded version of this technology was mostly driven by the need to adapt and use it in the so-called developed world.