I recently ran into artists Leon Reid IV and Ryan Seslow installing newly cast pieces from their collaborative project Technophemera at Welling Court. Curious to learn more, I asked them a few questions about the genesis of the project.
LP: How did this collaboration come about?
LR: The collaboration came about in an organic way. Ryan reached out to me around 2012 by inviting me to speak as a guest lecturer during his “History and Emergence of Street Art & Graffiti” course at LIU Post. From there we connected on alot of conceptual levels and decided to work collaboratively in some capacity. As with many collaborations, the concept for a work isn’t finalized in the beginning of the relationship, but rather over the course of many conversations and exchanges.
LP: What are you saying about art and technology with this installation?
LR: Previous to our meeting, Ryan had already begun casting old computer hardware in concrete – suggesting a fossilization process. After seeing these, I decided to bring my installation background to the table and came up with the idea that the hardware casts should be buried in an excavation site to create the illusion of ancient history.
The central theme behind the project is that technology is invented at such a rapid pace that devices even 5 years old may as well be treated as fossils.
RS: I coined the term “technophemera” in late 2011 when I started placing casts in and around the NYC area. I leave them in public places free for people to take and/or become aware of their presence and displacement. The displacement is both obvious and also contextual. It questions they way we dispose of old technologies and hardware as well as our personal relationships to those devices and who we are becoming over time through this new consciousness. I still continue to leave various casts in and around and have also expanded to other objects like old aerosol cans – this gets a bit more specific, as it speaks directly to graffiti artists, how everything changes and evolves, with us or without us. We must choose who we are in relationship to those changes to maintain authenticity.
Leon and Ryan are hoping to realize a collaborative installation of Technophemera on the LIU Post campus in connection with the Steinberg Museum of Art at Hillwood starting this fall. For more information, please visit http://www.leonthe4th.com/technophemera/1.html.
UPDATE: A Kickstarter has been launched to support the initiative as well: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leonreid/technophemera.