Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell of Burning

Madhvee Deb

Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell of Burning, 2017.
Digital photograph.

Ph credit & courtesy of the artist.


The notion behind the series Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell Of Burning highlights the behavioural issues of taking excessive photographs and a disproportionate exchange of worthless information on various social media platforms. Furthermore, both these behaviours lead to much deeper concerns such as living in the virtual world, instant gratification, detachment from emotionally meaningful relationships and it’s hypnotic effect on a human mind. The works present these issues metaphorically through photographs, objects and interactive audio-video. The intention of these works is to raise awareness of the current social issues in a subtle yet humorous way. 
The photographs and objects primarily use the rejected images. The video work, highlights the engagement with meaningless information, at times leading to vocalisation (armchair activism) or at other times demonstrating indifference towards various social issues. 

Juxtaposing these works together initiates a dialogue, at the same time individual pieces are capable of independently stimulating a thought process.

Initial explorations for the series started with the photographs. Statistical predictions confirm that in the year 2017, 3.93 trillion photos will be stored on various storage devices worldwide. Over the years this number has been steadily growing at the rate of 9%. This simply means perpetually everyone sits on thousands of unused images that they consider as not worthy enough for use.

Photographic works circles around the notion of the abundance of image recurrence, it’s curation process and classification as “rejects”. Curation process brings forward many images that are not aesthetically appealing or is a mere recurrence of the same scene. 

To further explore the possibilities and to break the 2-dimensional aspect of the photographs, the rejected photo prints are used to create the objects. These objects are an extension of the photographs and they provide scope for investigating another aspect of digital waste, while still maintaining the element of ambiguity.

Madhvee Deb is an Indian artist, who after having lived in Africa, Australia and Europe, now calls Singapore home. She completed her Masters in Arts in Fine Arts in 2014 from Goldsmith’s College of Art (Lasalle College of The Arts, Singapore). Her art-making process is in particular informed by the notion of capturing emotions, remembrance, identity, human perception, and comprehension of reality.

Her Solo exhibitions include Digital Waste: The Sweet Smell of Burning, Georgetown Festival, Penang, (2018), and Galleri Soho, Västerås, Sweden, (2019). She also participated in group exhibitions such as Affordable Art Stage, Singapore (2019),  Konstrundan City Vernissage (2019), Galleri Soho, Västerås, Sweden, You Are All Invited, Penang, Malaysia (2019). FRAC Des Pays De La Loire, Nantes, France (2015), Art Stage Singapore (2014), Eminent Takeover at Eminent Plaza, Singapore (2014).

Madhvee received a grant from Georgetown Festival (2018). She was a speaker at the Round Table at Alliance Française de Singapour (2013), Milan Image Art & Design Fair –  Singapore (2014).

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