Obsolescence

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Artworks concerned with the process of an object or idea ceasing to be useful and thus valuable, either due to changing fashions or technological progress. Examples include the documentation of de-industrialization (as in Bernd and Hilla Becher’s photographs of defunct manufacturing plants) or engagement with outdated electronics (as in Gregor Hildebrandt’s use of VHS, cassettes, and vinyl records in his mixed-media work). While some works expose the insidious side effects of modern progress, many artists approach or employ obsolete technologies from a position of curiosity or nostalgia, highlighting the degree to which an object’s obsolescence is socially determined.

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