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Chelsea Tekserve Reboots Dead Laptops as Art

By Mathew Katz | October 21, 2011 3:31pm
The dead laptops juxtaposed with old technology.
The dead laptops juxtaposed with old technology.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — It's the next stop on the art circuit.

Chicago-based artist Michael Dinges has taken used laptops and turned them into art with the Dead Laptop Series — a new exhibit of graphite-etched and engraved old MacBooks on display at Tekserve, the massive independent Apple store in Chelsea.

"A dead laptop is not much use to anybody," said Dinges, who said the average laptop is a collection of someone's work and personal life, all of which can be destroyed in an instant by a coffee spill or a computer virus.

The laptops, which are in glass display cases and on the walls of the Tekserve on 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, fill the sales floor alongside both the shiniest of iPads and defunct old cameras.

Dinges says that the laptops each represent some aspect of the way humanity has wholeheartedly embraced technology.

One piece turns the stark-white canvas of a MacBook into a Ouija Board — appropriate in a place where Mac owners come, sometimes in tears, to try to reclaim the ghosts of their lost data.

"Losing data, it's like losing your memories," said Tekserve's curator, Jan Albert. "I've lost my email, and I considered that like losing a chunk of my life."

Another, called "Mine, All Mine," has a drawing of a squirrel surrounded by handwritten text on the back of a laptop. Dinges said the squirrel represents mankind, scurrying around the Internet, trying to frantically consume data.

"I see hundreds of squirrels everyday," Dinges said. "The way that I see them react is really anxiety-based — I see parallels with humans with the way they interact with the world."

This is the first art exhibit at Tekserve, which was founded in 1987 and has been featured in TV shows like "Sex and the City," and "Law and Order." Albert said there are more quirky shows to come.

The exhibit also comes just weeks after the death of Apple visionary Steve Jobs.

"Steve Jobs has been the muse of this store," said Albert.

The exhibit runs at Tekserve, at 119 W. 23rd St, until Nov. 20, 2011.