Sustained Release (2013)

Sustained Release is an art installation consisting of technical utensils that became obsolete, because of the technological evolution during the past decades: a portable record player, a black-and-white portable ghettoblaster-TV, a reel-to-reel tape recorder and a tube AM/FM radio. These inventions were once top of the line, but for us nowadays, they are relics. But they still operate. And how does this compare with our average everyday technology? Will our iPhone or iPod or laptop that we use at the moment still work in 50 years or so?

Probably not. The technology that was designed in the 50’s and 60’s was built to last a lifetime. This was before companies decided to produce their products with planned obsolescence.

Planned obsolescence is designing technology with a built-in limited lifespan, to make sure that it will not be the last product of that kind you will buy in your lifetime. Another side of this practice is that these products are unfixable, or at least very difficult and expensive to fix when they break, so you decide to buy a new one. Batteries that just make it over the warranty time, printers with built-in suicide software after 1000 prints, lightbulbs that stop burning after 1000 hours, we got used to it over the years, but what we sometimes don’t realise anymore, is that it can be done differently. Like the 100-year old lightbulb that has been burning for the last decades, day and night, without repair.

Sustained Release is a homage to elderly equipment. The installation is like a time capsule in which these four machines together play their last song in service of humanity.