An Ontology Of Electronic Waste

Last updated Mar 19, 2023

An Ontology Of Electronic Waste (via) by Maurits Fennis.

Perhaps in this sense the progressive and secular segment of the western world, where we arrogantly characterize ourselves as a post-ideological society, liberated from the backward and restrictive confines of dogmatic religion, is still deeply ideological. Perhaps we have simply replaced religious ideology with an ideology that privileges scientism and techno- fetishism. That the disastrous environmental chain reactions that originate from technological development are not unpremeditated and accidental, but the undisguised outward expression of its inner characteristics.

A more fitting ontology of a device is that each device is a unique, catastrophic event, an irreversible displacement of matter and continued impediment to the environment. This aids us to come to the realization that once we have unleashed these catastrophic events into the world, the environment is irreversibly damaged.

If the public perceive a device as an event rather than an object, we hope to spread awareness of the full environmental context in which they are created and reduce the incentive to acquire new devices. If schematics and firmware are publicly available, planned obsolescence is thwarted. If reverse engineered and alternative software is publicly available, abandoned software support is no longer an issue and if devices can be repurposed to perform tasks beyond their design requirements, any claim to intellectual property becomes irrelevant. Our work is a form of sabotage, a wrench in the gears of electronics manufacturing.