Letters from the Earth


Letters from the Earth is an interactive, cross-generational piece that repurposes electronic waste into technologically mediated messages to future generations.

Plastic comprises a vast amount of the material used to make the electronic consumer products that have become so much a part of our lives. The majority of these products will eventually become waste, which will likely wind up in landfills despite state and local e-waste recycling efforts. What does this wanton waste production say about our concern for future generations and ourselves? Letters From the Earth offers the possibility of a dialogue with those future beings, by reconstructing the impermanent messages on computer screens and cell phones into permanent physical missives that will last for centuries.

This will be accomplished in the following manner:
• E-waste is culled from local landfills.
• The plastic is removed from this waste and the remaining components sent to recycling facilities.
• The plastic is then melted down and formed into simple cubes
• These cubes are then cemented together to form letters and sentences, as pixels would form words.
• These completed sentences are then placed back into the landfill and covered over.
• Since all the electronic components will be recycled, the net environmental impact will be a reduction in landfill waste.

Because plastic takes so long to break down (up to 500 years or more in a landfill) the messages will remain in the earth indefinitely. This is done in the hope that future inhabitants might stumble upon them in the course of archeological, geological, or subsistence exploration and consider the attitudes and sensibilities that previous generations had toward their lives, triumphs and follies. Similarly, Letters from the Earth calls on the present day technological operators and consumers to consider the impact their seemingly innocuous tool and toys might have on their descendants.