Interdisciplinary Research Program – TUDelft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
The Zone of Disassembly: Unveiling the hidden flows of e-waste
Archiprix 2020 — Selection

MSc student
Martin Kolev

The Zone of Disassembly: Unveiling the hidden flows of e-waste

Hamburg, Germany

Graduation committee
Taneha Kuzniecow Bacchin
Stefano Milani
Sjap Holst

Core discipline

Graduation studio
Transitional Territories 2018-2019
North Sea: Landscapes of Coexistence

Material possession has become our objective for existence. Capital surrounds and defines us. The high dynamics of global flows dominate the planetary web of connectivity. Consumption, production and assembly have become the holy trinity of the neo-liberal realm we live in. It is a manifestation of the global dynamics, neglecting distances, identity and time, yet celebrating purpose, capital and proliferation. Meanwhile, the aftermaths of these actions remain concealed. The Zone of Disassembly reacts to this imbalance and aims to track, unveil and transform one of the consumption’s tangible outcomes: the e-waste. Currently, the e-waste is the fastest-growing stream of waste. The contradicting nature of this matter has defined the dualistic nature of this type of waste: value and toxicity have become fundamental terms when mentioning e-waste. Yet both of them could easily exist in unison when the issue is being tackled carefully. This project resembles a critique toward the current policies regarding e-waste: incompetent formulation of recycling practises and lack of contemporary, adequate methodology results in the conscious exclusion of these so-called ore-streams results in huge economic, natural and ecological loses. ‘The Zone of Disassembly’ derives from the question of territory and formulates a spatial intervention which has the potential to unveil the North Sea hidden e-flows. It is articulated via two interconnected spatial agencies, which establish an infrastructural threshold: the waste archipelago and the waste plant. The waste archipelago resembles a spatial switch whose aim is to reshuffle the existing network of flows within the North Sea and unveiled the hidden such. This artificial set of islands aims to navigate between the territorial waste and material flows. It establishing a flexible framework defined by multipliable spatial syntax which could easily be translated in various contexts. Furthermore, it acts as a catalyst for a productive landscape fostered by the premises of absolute technology and omnipotent densification.The on-shore part of the project aims to manifest the momentum of the territorial intervention, by emphasising the physical metamorphosis of waste into matter. While the offshore port establishes a vital node handling the global streams of electronic dumping, the disassembly plant resembles a spatial medium; a threshold between global and local, human and machine, manual and automated. The Zone of Disassembly addresses the various social actors ,by exposing the physical acts disassembling. The building act as political infrastructure which transparency agitates the public and exposes the sensibility of the e-waste polemic. Neither utopian nor dystopian, ‘The Zone of Disassembly’ is a surreal endeavour, which challenges our perception of e-waste and points towards the manifold possibilities veiled under the act of ignorance.

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