Laboratory of Electronic Ageing (male grooming)
drop testing machine, electronic shaver, monitors, lab coat, packaging materials, stolen confidential documents
The Philips Series 9000 Shaver with 'V-Track PRO Position Blade System’, ‘8-directional ContourDetect Head’ and ‘AquaTec Wet & Dry’ is marketed as a high-tech gadget that is subject to rapid innovation and obsolescence. Nevertheless, it originates from and ends as bare materiality. The industrial ‘drop testing machine’ that is used in laboratory to test product durability makes this visible. In an endlessly repeating simulation of a user accidentally dropping the device, the gadget is gradually transformed into a state where it is no longer has any functionality for humans, while it remains present as material.
For this project, Dani Ploeger took on a job promoting Philips shavers at Europe’s biggest consumer electronics fair, IFA in Berlin. In 2019, he initiated the Laboratory of Electronic Ageing, a laboratory for artistic experimentation equipped with industrial testing machines to destroy consumer electronics in controlled environments.
Realized as part of neuhaus (100 years after the founding of Bauhaus) at Het Nieuwe Instituut (The New Institute) museum for architecture, design and digital culture in Rotterdam.
The Laboratory of Electronic Ageing
The Laboratory of Electronic Ageing (LEA) is a space for artistic experimentation with electronic devices, equipped with industrial stress testing machines for consumer technology. The machines are used to create controlled environments to induce material deterioration in mobile phones, tablet computers, and other everyday devices. The laboratory facilitates both the appropriation of established, industrial grade stress testing procedures for artistic endeavours, and the development of alternative, unconventional uses for the testing equipment. Through electronics hacking, the machines may be modified to design new experimentation procedures with simulated and imaginary deterioration processes.
LEA is led by Dr. Dani Ploeger and co-funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) as part of the research project Bridging Art, Design and Technology through Critical Making, based at Leiden University and Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam.
Photos by Alexia Manzano / Videos by Samiha Awad and Alexia Manzano