Digital Debris: Visualizing the Future of Global E-Waste
A growing excess of electronic waste (e-waste) is being produced worldwide due to sudden changes in technology and media, falling prices of digital devices, and planned technological obsolescence. In 2017, close to 50 million tonnes of e-waste were produced worldwide, and this figure continues to rise at a rate of 8% each year. The social, economic, and environmental consequences of e-waste have proven to be extensive and complex, affecting multiple aspects of human, animal, and plant life.
The focus of Samaa’s thesis project is to create an immersive experience where audiences are confronted by the scope of, and the urgent need to better address, e-waste issues on a global scale. Using principles of critical design, Samaa has created a series of vignettes that allow users to visualize the tangible and complex connections between familiar digital devices, and the overall lifecycle of e-waste.
Samaa Ahmed is a designer, fine artist, and writer. She is interested in the intersections between global culture and digital technologies. As the recipient of an NSERC graduate scholarship, her research explores the ways in which virtual reality experiences can be used to create empathy.