Swipe Swipe Swipe explores and problematizes the invisible abstraction of contract law that exists between the movement of human fingers and the backlit glass of the smartphone screen. The copyrighted, choreographed gestures of “swipe,” “slide to unlock,” and “pinch-to-zoom” are performed by millions of users each day and are owned by Apple, Inc. A series of smartphone-sized clay slabs are inscribed with indexical “portraits” of these ephemeral and often unconsciously executed touch-screen gestures and reclaimed by the human hand in the process. Fingers to digits, silicone to clay. Today’s cuneiform.
The series of smartphone sculptures are installed on a wall painted Rose Gold – a color invented in the nineteenth century by Carl Faberge as a new chromatic alloy of gold and copper. In 2015 Apple released the Rose Gold version of the iPhone and consequently the color was named one of the top trends of 2016 by Pantone. Today Rose Gold is routinely referred to as “millennial pink” or “Russian gold”.
Cobalt and lithium are minerals which are extracted from the earth to power rechargeable batteries in smartphones. In this project I perform these touch-screen gestures by gouging out clay with my fingers, mimicking the excavation of these precious metals from the depth of the earth.
Swipe Swipe Swipe by Alexandra Lerman. Dimensions variable, fired clay, rose gold paint. Images courtesy of the artist