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Technology has many applications in today’s world. Computers, printers, cell phones, and  more have become such an integrated part of our everyday life. However, once deemed outdated or unusable, there is not much else to do with all these electronics besides having them sit around in your garage or recycling them through companies like Living Green Technology. This is where unique Seattle artists like Tywen Kelly come in.

Tywen is a local artist focusing on new media, digital imaging, and media ecology. This means that the materials used in his artwork consist of the newest technological tools emerging today, and involve both digitally-native works meant for the screen, as well as physical sculpture. For example, all of Tywen’s works involve the use of computers and center around the question of living in a highly mediated world. We are all surrounded by screens, feeds, and images that dominate the world around us, and through his artwork Tywen focuses on how we thrive in this new, constantly changing environment. Ecology is a powerful metaphor to understand the complex system of mediation in our world, and this makes a common appearance in his artwork through combining images and media into what Tywen calls an environmental “scene”.

Besides his digitally-native works, Tywen utilizes physical sculpture as a way to manifest the ephemerality of digital media into tangible things, making their meaning more real to us. This is the case with Tywen’s most recent heatsink sculpture, titled “Lying Flat,” which was created with recycled heat sinks provided by Living Green Technology.

Outline of a person made from heat sink computer parts lying down in the grass

The title “Lying Flat” comes from a Chinese movement called Tang Ping (躺平). Many workers are exhausted by the “996” culture – 9 AM to 9 PM, six days a week – and other intense pressures of privatized competition, and are deciding to opt out of it by doing nothing. Consequently, laying on the ground became the symbol for an active form of protest.

Heatsinks are a crucial component in computer hardware and prevent processors from melting. By flipping the customary role of heatsinks from dissipating work to instead absorbing leisure by doing nothing, “Lying Flat” sets a model for being that does not emphasize producing outputs, emitting quantities, or generating data, and instead emphasizes enjoying ephemera, absorbing qualities, and expanding imagination.

To learn more about Tywen and his artwork, check out his website and some more related links below:

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