In the work Debris, Qwerty, the St. Louis based artist Sarah Frost creates massive, gridded portraits out of discarded keyboards.
The mashed together keys are unrecognizable from their source material when looked at from a distance. Visually, they look like large windows into an empty universe or an endless dust cloud. There is the slightest hint of movement in each of the images. Tiny particles appear to be floating through the space at times. While the shape of each individual key is lost in the expanse, each contributes to the larger suggested universe created in each portrait.
The keyboards, ranging anywhere from white to black, bear their discoloration, accentuating their extensive use and origin. They explore the afterlife of a technology that is easily discarded while also emphasizing its importance through the keyboards’ intensive use. The varied origins are practically invisible in the work, the only indication being through traces of dirt or physical damage. So while the reason for their use is lost, the mosaics foreground the personal imprints left upon the keys.
As Sarah Frost says in her own artist’s statement,
“I find the traces of the personal left on these objects – evidence of habits, experience, emotion and personal taste – poignant in the absence of their owners and any further use. “
The work simultaneously emphasizes both the arbitrary nature of the technology through it’s easy trashing while also emphasizing its importance in how much it was used. It suggests a technology that is constantly in flux, where while specific permutations aren’t necessarily important – it is always alive in its movement, discarded or otherwise.
Check out more photos at This is Colossal