Artist using old technology for new purposes in online performance

Colby Richardson

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An old iPhone, a cracked iPad, an outdated computer — where many people see technology that is no longer useful, Colby Richardson sees art.

Richardson is a media artist and experimental filmmaker from Regina who currently lives in Winnipeg. Much of his work revolves around “appropriating technology” — taking what most consider to be technology that is past its prime or no longer functional and turning it into art.

“My aim is usually to take something that isn’t commonly used to express artistic forms and find ways within them to kind of appropriate their functions and treat them as gifts,” he said.

While quarantined in his home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Richardson decided to complete a project he had slowly been working on for years.

The piece, titled “Performance for aging Apple devices,” features 10 old iPhones.

“I’m using the functions that they have, whether it’s the ring tones, the reminder alerts, and primarily the FaceTime calls between them, and treating them as if these phones were built explicitly to make art with,” he said in a recent phone interview.

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