Apple graveyard

Lucy Barker What Once Was

Lucy Barker. ‘What Once Was.’ Photo: Menachem Wecker

My article about Lucy Barker’s “Apple graveyard,” which I saw at Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach in Sydney, appears in First Things.

Jon Berkeley’s illustration for a January 2010 Economist cover depicts Steve Jobs as a modern Moses with a saintly halo. One of his trademark black turtlenecks peeks through his biblical robe, as Jobs displays an iPad instead of the twin stone tablets of Exodus. Joan Schneider, a publicist, told Harvard Business Review in 2010 that Jobs was like a specter, which “appears when there’s something big going on and then fades back from view. It almost gives you goosebumps when you see him.”

Apple’s Nativities are much more hyped than its Passions. As Apple developed a storied habit of manufacturing artificial need for new devices that weren’t necessarily all that different from the products they were designed to replace, it also created an environment where those “old” devices became virtually invisible. The question of what happens to mobile devices after they’ve outlived their shelf life is the subject of Sydney artist Lucy Barker’s sculpture “What Once Was,” which was on view at Sculpture by the Sea at Bondi Beach from October 24 to November 10, 2013.

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