Ásgerður Birna Björnsdóttir (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
February 2018. Documentation demonstrating interactive elements of sculpture. 27 Elsewhere items, epoxy resin, fiberglass, Qi charging system, receivers. 18.5″ x 22″ x 33″ in. 

PERIODIC CHARGE is a public smartphone lounge and practical charging commons at the museum’s admission desk. Focusing on Elsewhere’s collection materials as a natural resource, Björnsdóttir and local chemists excavated the 29 periodic elements found in a smartphone.

As authoritative, active and cherished contemporary objects, smartphones within Elsewhere travel boldly, intermingling with the vast vintage thrift or capturing it digitally, seemingly alien and without a home in the space. PERIODIC CHARGE sits these modern devices atop a sculpture of mirroring elements, relieving guests of the hardwired panic of the ‘low battery,’ forcing them to let the phone rest and acting as a bridge between collection items of another era and the futures digital realm.

The piece reveals and gives tangible materiality to the shared essence of disparate things made from the same ingredients, just stacked differently.

“Apparently a smartphone doesn’t need a cable to charge anymore said the brass dog. ‘Is that so?’ said the Muppet Show DVD absent-mindedly. ‘Yep, now you can just prop the phone on top of the charger and BAM it’s charging! It’s the future!’ ‘Damn,’ said the lighter flint, ‘So cables are becoming obsolete, huh? I wonder what’s next.’
‘Hoverboards surely,’ said the alkaline battery, smirking.”
-Ásgerður Birna Björnsdóttir

Research Support: Amy Peddie (chemist & owner of Fermentology Foods) & Steve T. (metals expert & welding instructor at The Forge makerspace).


27 collection items representing 29 periodic elements: TV screen, chrome bowl, thermometer, oil greaser, magnet, matches, optical glass, water cleaning tablets, phone keyboard, brass dog, bike chain, battery, circuit board, golden ring, tin lid, camera lens, plastic leaf, pewter cup, golf club, lead figure, studio lightbulb, halogen light bulb, plastic teeth, lighter flints, silver fork, oxygen, DVD. Photo credit: Ásgerður Birna Björnsdóttir.