On Black Friday, the symbol of our consumer culture, we and Nerdlab organised an action against ‘planned obsolescence’ on the Kouter in Ghent.
By designing and producing smartphones and laptops in such a way that they break down quickly and are difficult to repair, consumers are forced to buy a new device. This is called planned obsolescence. With the unveiling of an art installation from e-waste (electronic waste) as part of our CTRL ALT DEL campaign, we denounced this strategy.
Planned obsolescence and Black Friday
The timing of our action was not accidental: the popularity of Black Friday is a logical reaction to planned obsolescence. When you look at the countless promotions, you see mostly electronics: smartphones, laptops, printers,… These are not coincidentally devices that break down faster due to planned obsolescence and are also difficult to repair. This causes frustration among consumers and therefore provides, of course, a good reason to buy a new device. During the campaign, CATAPA gave consumers the opportunity to share their own experiences and frustrations.
Relive the satirical reveal by our CEO for a day
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We gather here today to celebrate something wonderful: the creation of our (e)wasteful installation. And that on the high day of consumption, on Black Friday.
For months we have been thinking about the design of our new product, in cooperation with the best experts in the world. We conceptualized and designed, tested and rethought, exploited people and haven’t made any innovation the public was waiting for. Until we reached the optimal result: broken after only two years! A new record for our company. You can see the wonderful outcome here: our (e)wasteful installation.
This machine represents planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence means that we deliberately make products that fail prematurely, without you knowing about it. But we’re not baddies, because you can enjoy our discounts on Black Friday and just buy a new device that way! As you can see, the installation is slowly depleting the earth as it creates broken electronics and creates a growing mountain of e-waste. The included videos by our top illustrator Camilla Del Fabro make that even more clear.
Therefore, it is the perfect visualization of our linear economic model, in which products break down and, with small chances of recycling and repair, end up on the trash heap. Thus we can encourage more consumption and keep our profits growing. Hooray for smart shareholders, hooray for honest profits!
Legislation restricting planned obsolescence is lacking, fortunately for us, at the Flemish, Federal and European levels. Therefore, we would also like to thank our politicians for cashing in on our hard lobbying and allowing our defective products on the market! Okay, they do deplete the earth, as well as violate human rights and create a lot of waste/e-waste. But that is none of our concern, today is a day of celebration!
We have to admit: we have been a bit inconsistent with this product though: we did not violate any human rights when building this plant and the entire plant was made from e-waste. Perhaps this could be repeated!
Many thanks to everyone, the Nerdlabbers and the Catapistas, who were involved in this process. So now let’s officially inaugurate the machine. Can the experts please step forward for a moment to cut the wire?
Applause & (watered down) bubbles!