Cloud computing is changing the way we think about technology. Thanks to rapid advances in memory storage, the days of bulky discs and hard drives are over. But what happens to all of the now-obsolete tech items accumulating dust in our homes? This e-waste is at the heart of British artist Nick Gentry’s work. Collecting floppy discs, VHS tapes, and other hallmarks of old technology, he uses the objects as materials and unconventional canvases for his portraiture. Gentry will paint solemn women on the top of floppy discs, use film negatives as brush strokes, and even shatter old CDs as a way to suspend his subjects in holographic reverie.
One of the most compelling parts of Gentry’s portfolio is his work with floppy discs. The small squares are labeled with their former uses, whether it was a school paper or a work presentation. When placed together, they mark a time that will never return, as they are not compatible with current technology. Although it’s a positive thing that the world is advancing, the collection of these memory discs is poignant. They are a symbol of life and a reminder of how quickly it passes us by.
A selection of Gentry’s work is in a show called Human Connection at the Opera Gallery in London. His portraits will be alongside Young-Deok Seo, an artist who recreates the human figure in bicycle chain sculptures. Human Connection is on view from September 14 to September 28, 2018.