Reality--Stranger Than Fiction: A Cyberpunk Distortion of Guiyu, China
Cybernetics: The science of replacing human functions with computerized ones.
Punk: Music genre from the 1970s and 1980s known for its staccato lyrics and beats.
For this project, I explored the lives of the inhabitants of Guiyu, China through the lens of the Cyberpunks. Guiyu is a small town in Northern China ridden with "e-waste"--discarded electronic devices and components exported from America and other technologically advanced countries. "Cyberpunk" is a science fiction subgenre of the 1980s that focused on the "high tech and low life." Cyberpunk literature offered a new "technoculture" that dealt directly with blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Technology, for the Cyberpunks, was seen as an "omnipresent force" that was portrayed in their works as neither "good" nor "evil." This takeover of technology was accepted as reality, as the "force" could not be avoided--technology is in the every day, becoming more and more humanlike, and humans becoming more and more machine-like.
Here, I present my own fusion of fiction and reality using images of Guiyu, China combined with images from 2 of the "7 Natural Wonders" of North America. The first image in the series is "real," taken by reporters from TIME. The second image was created using the "masking" tool in Photoshop. Though unintentional, I was fascinated by the power of the image. The masking" or "blurring" of human and machine shows the individuals physically connected with the technology--as though the two are one, extensions of each other. Lastly, the third image in the series displays the e-waste as a part of nature. Here, the discarded waste of China superimposes itself on the pristine landscapes of North America, a country that is one of the largest contributors to the exportation of e-waste.
Guiyu, China + Mount McKinley (Alaska, USA)
Guiyu, China + Great Blue Hole (Belize/USA)