The Fates of Things

In April 2017, I presented with Dr. Helen Burgess and Dr. Stacey Pigg at the Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (R-CADE) Symposium in Camden, NJ. This panel returned to the original digits: our nimble, expressive fingers. We explored what it means to be simultaneously embodied and digital, using the dual concreteness and ephemerality of two ancient technologies and one modern: the spinning wheel, the loom, and the 3D printer.

As Atropos, the Fate of Death, I “cut” data gleaned from the spinning and weaving of my fellow panelists and 3D printed them into sun-dials whose angles represented the rate of change in acceleration. In reflecting on this process, I began to complicate the very notion of digital ephemeral. While the material-less cloud is the metaphor-du-jour in talking about new media technologies, during the process of 3D printing using plastic filament, various forms of waste and detritus find their ways into our bodies and become a part of us, lasting long after the natural decomposition of the body.

You can view a video of our presentation here.