"Fish in Technology," by visual arts junior Liliana Nunez, was the winning sculpture in a competition that evolved through a collaboration between OIT and the Visual Arts Department to find a good use for old computer parts.

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Pacific News

e-Waste Not, What-nots

Art students sculpt objets d’art from old computers donated by OIT
Nov 8, 2012

Mix some email spam with a dash of Art Department ingenuity, add a storage room full of obsolete PC and Mac parts and what do you have? A fun class assignment that evolved into a contest to build the best sculpture using recycled computer keyboards, hard drives, power cables, video monitors and overhead projectors.

The competition began in September and was the brainchild of OIT Help Desk supervisor Rebeca Stovall who thought it would be a novel way of giving new purpose to the many old computer parts OIT has to recycle each year.  OIT project manager Ron Harvey loved the idea and asked to be assigned to the project.

"I began to spam our Art department, looking for a sponsor," says Harvey.

Dubbed "Art View," the project was to design a sculpture worthy of permanent display at the Help Desk reception area at Raymond Hall.

Art Department visiting lecturer Ilena Finocchi Wilson agreed it would be a fun, learning experience and terrific exposure for the students' intricate handiwork. She took the lead, setting 10 of her sculpture students loose to survey the room full of computer parts and see what would happen.

"There is a little bit of Franken-sculpture going on here," she said. "We've never done something of this magnitude, with this volume of material." 

Art from Old Computers

"They've turned what would otherwise be considered useless computer materials into transformative sculptures indicative of a college level sculpture course." --- Ilena Finocchi Wilson, Visual Arts Visiting Lecturer

OIT supplied the recycled materials at no cost, and contributed funds for glues, epoxies and zip ties. There are nine pieces in total, including a rocket ship, a tree and an old fashioned camera.

"Fish in Technology," the winner of the design competition, was created by Liliana Nunez, a junior majoring in visual art. Her 4-foot by 3-foot fish bowl used parts from outdated SunRay Terminals. She used the circuit boards to create fins, keyboard buttons as fish bowl gravel and clear plastic optical paths as flowing water.

The nine sculptures are on display through the end of the semester at the Office of Information Technology main offices at 1776 March Lane.

"We are looking at the project in a new way for the sculpture class next year," Finocchi Wilson said. "The collaboration between OIT and the Art department was fantastic, and the results the students came up with were impressive."