Screw Obsolescence (
Screw Obsolescence by Heather Miller

Title: Screw Obsolescence
Year: 2010
Size: 10″ x 10″

Screw Obsolescence was created using RAM chips, test tubes, floppy discs, and a variety of screws from old computers.

The Story:

I’m writing this story in 2016, the piece was created in 2013 so I’ll do my best to remember.

I had purchase two collage-style frames.  One became Natural Science, the other was used on this piece.  I had purchased a quantity of test tubes from American Science Surplus.  I used a lot of them in a piece called A Series of Tubes but I had leftovers – and a fascination with test tubes.  I also had a large amount of old computer equipment laying around.  I decided there had to be a way to bring those elements together.

Anytime I dismantle an old piece of electronics I keep the screws.  Why?  Little screws are useful & interesting to look at.  I sorted through my collection & found the ones that interesting but ones I knew I’d never use otherwise.  I filled test tubes with glue & carefully inserted screws so they were spaced out enough to be seen.  Rather than line the test tubes in neat rows like I did with Natural Science, I arranged them a bit more chaotically.  That took care of two of the four sections.

I realized pretty quickly that some of my RAM chips fit perfectly in the vertical section.  I had enough to fill both but I thought that might be a little too repetitive.  After all, I already repeated myself with the test tubes.  This piece sat unfinished for a long time because I honestly didn’t know what to do with the the fourth section.  I had some old floppy disks but just putting once in the center seemed a bit too….boring.  Since I had four of them, I took them apart.  A little cutting & gluing later, the fourth section was done.

The title is kind of a pun.  Clearly I used a lot of screws and the RAM & floppy disks were well past obsolete.