Co.Design

A Rippling, Metallic Moonscape Made of 65,000 CDs

It's a WasteLandscape! Get it? Get it? Because nobody listens to CDs anymore?!

What to do with CDs in the age of Spotify, iPods, and the collective realization that CD sound totally sucks" You could throw them in the rubbish bin or you could do what Elise Morin and Clémence Eliard have done and turn them into a massive, undulating art installation that shows off CDs" best (and arguably only) asset: They sure are shiny!

WasteLandscape takes 65,000 CDs and stretches them over 1,640 square feet of artificial knolls at Le Centquatre, an art space, in Paris. Glancing over the pictures, you've got to wonder: What exactly is this thing supposed to be? A metallic moonscape? A bunch of discoballs partially buried in the ground? Or a landfill replica made of nothing but CDs? Bingo! And it's rife with all kinds of weighty eco meaning, too. Per the designers:

It is well known that CDs are condemned to gradually disappear from our daily life, and to later participate in the construction of immense open-air, floating or buried toxic waste reception centers. Made of petroleum, this reflecting slick of CDs forms a still sea of metallic dunes: the art work's monumental scale reveals the precious aspect of a small daily object.

What's most impressive here is how Morin, an artist, and Eliard, an architect, built the installation. First, they sorted the CDs, then sewed them together by hand, creating giant swaths of CD fabric. Finally, they draped the fabric over inflatable plastic hills. (And by "they," we mean the artists and a slew of helpers.)

It's worth asking what'll happen to the CDs when the exhibit's over. It's one thing to make a sculpture that raises awareness about the environment. It's another to make a sculpture that raises awareness about the environment, then ends up in a landfill. But fear not: WasteLandscape will be featured in multiple exhibitions, before the CDs are recycled into polycarbonate — all 65,000 of 'em.

[Images courtesy of Elise Morin]

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4 Comments

  • tommo

     "Because nobody listens to CDs anymore?!"
    In the US only one in three albums sales are digital - the rest are CD. I presume at least a few of these people do actually listen to their CDs.

    Or has your in-depth research turned over some interesting statistic about how the millions of CDs bought every year are just sitting there, gathering dust, having never been listened to? (what's that you say? You didn't do any research? Oh, you do surprise me*)

    And as for "Shiney" being  a CDs only asset. You do know what a CD is yeah? 

    * That's sarcasm, by the way. In case you're not familiar with it.

  • bob

    I wholeheartedly agree with JoeBarefoot. Referencing that 10 year old article, is akin to a mainstream news picking out the overweight guy in a statue of liberty costume at a Tea Party rally to interview about the days events. You're not going to get an accurate picture.

    Apple has done well to beat the music industry at their own game, but they've yet to come close to the sound quality of well engineered CDs or vinyl.

    Fortunately for Apple, most of their audience has never heard what quality audio sounds like. It's just not going to happen on your ipod, playing compressed formats, routed through the cheap desktop speakers you bought at Best Buy. I guess ignorance can be bliss.

  • JoeBarefoot

    This sculpture is a very beautiful way to use the ageing CD but your argument that CD sound 'totally sucks' in the age of Spotify and iPods is simply incorrect.

    The Bob Speer article you referenced was talking about the 'Loudness War' - the competitive compression of dynamic range in music during the final stages of production.
    This is done before the music is pressed/burnt to CD and before it is encoded into digital formats where it is often compressed yet again in a very lossy way. Bob Speer had a valid point in 2001 but he wasn't talking about the medium of CD but of industrial attitudes.

    CDs are of course becoming less relevant, and as WasteLandscape shows so stunningly - they sure aren't green. But until uncompressed, lossless audio becomes the digital norm CDs are still the closest thing to hearing what your music actually sounds like.This blog is sincerely my favourite thing to read on the web and this is the first time the copy has been anything but insightful, well-informed and thoughtful. Almost genius.