Transforming E-Waste into Art: Benjamin Von Wong

Updated: Apr 19, 2020


Artist Profile:

  • Benjamin Von Wong is a Canadian photographer and artist who creates surreal environmental installations to tell stories and raise awareness.

  • Von Wong is known for his hyper-realist art style that can be shown through his powerful images that address relevant and widespread issues like plastic pollution and electronic waste.

  • His work over the last three years has generated over 100 million views, and he has partnered with well known organizations like Dell, Nike, and Starbucks.

"I am an Artist focused on amplifying positive Impact. My mission is to help make positive impact unforgettable."

Dell's Global Recycling Program:

One of Von Wong's latest partnerships was with Dell and Wistron Greentech, in which he obtained over 4,000 pounds of e-waste. E-waste is discarded electronics, including cell phones, computers, and even accessories like keyboards and cables. Most of this e-waste is thrown out and another portion goes to places that recycle and reuse it like Dell. Globally, Dell has the largest recycling program; however, less than 15% of that e-waste is recycled, and Von Wong wanted to use his art to make people think twice before they throw out their devices. Von Wong and 50 others volunteers worked together to divide the e-waste into different categories: laptops, keyboards, and circuit boards. They then built and assembled structures to combine and lay out these electronics in an aesthetic pleasing layout. Von Wong's model was covered in body paint to look like a futuristic cyborg, completing the recycling machine with a human component. The final pictures show the consequences of our e-waste: a post-apocalyptic landscape full of only wasted technology.

Everyday, 142,000 computers are thrown out in the United States. This statistic only applies in America. Von Wong is aiming to help lower this statistic through his art. Overall, the campaign was used to shed light on the issue of e-waste, and its possible tragic aftermath. The video behind the creation of these three structures has garnered over 7 million views and can be seen below.

Von Wong has several other projects, including ones that have addressed plastic straws and bottles and fast fashion. His recent project with Starbucks gathered 168,000 straws from the streets to create the "Strawpocalypse", which shows the sheer magnitude of single-use plastics and its impact on the environment. He also created an installation of a "mermaid" drowning in 10,000 plastic bottles, which is the average number of water bottles that an American may use in their lifetime. Below are a few pictures from both of these campaigns.

If you would like to learn more, you can find more about Von Wong's campaigns on his website, and his Instagram.

Sources:

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