New animation: Why the Tech Dream is becoming a Nightmare

LMN network member the Gaia Foundation has released Wake Up Call, a short animation unpacking the lifecycle of electronics, the system that drives this, and the impact that our grave modern addiction is having on Earth. Award-winning animator Steve Cutts, who rose to fame last year with the release of acclaimed animation, MAN, has designed the animation.

Wake Up Call uses comic absurdity and a fanciful nightmare scene to lead the viewer to the stark realisation that we all urgently need to wake up call and challenge this destructive system.

The animation offers audiences a funny, fast-paced and frantic exploration of the social and ecological atrocities and the toxic legacy of gadgets such as Smartphone’s and laptops. From environmental destruction and contamination caused by extraction and exploitative working conditions during production, to the mountains of e-waste being shipped abroad, the animation follows the birth, life and death of everyday gadgets, revealing their true cost to the planet and to future generations.

Liz Hosken, Director of The Gaia Foundation says, “There are now more mobile phones on the planet than there are humans, and when we look around at our addiction and behaviour, we cannot deny the absurdity of it all. Wake up Call uses humor to make us look at ourselves, but also to highlight the real devastation caused at every stage of the production and use of these gadgets. Key drivers of this growth are the surge in consumerism and an increasingly throwaway culture, fuelled by marketing and delusions of necessity; and encouraged by the built-in obsolescence of our electronic gadgets.”

The animation follows the release of two reports – Short Circuit (2013) and Opening Pandora’s Box (2012) – by The Gaia Foundation and allies, both of which explore the impact of mining, how mining is a major driver of land grabbing globally, and the costs of this technology on a finite planet.

“The animation reminds us that these gadgets are made from the body of the Earth, from minerals and metals evolved over millions of years; something which their shiny appearance belies. Our increased connectivity through communications masks our total disconnection with the Earth, our one and only source of life,” adds Hosken.

Online materials accompanying the animation help unpack the story with alarming statistics, as well as provide campaigns and initiatives which are supporting the active resistance of this destructive system. These materials provide audiences with ways in which they can engage in a new movement for fairer technology and reduced consumption.

Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth (2013), the report which inspired the animation, is available here.

Opening Pandora’s Box – The New Wave of Land Grabbing by the Extractive Industries and the Devastating Impact on Earth (2012), is available here.

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