Hosted at the Phoenix Art Space in Brighton, one aim of the innovative artwork ‘DEMO e-STUDIO5008LP’ was to raise awareness of erasable technology and how it could be used to change printing habits encouraging environmental thoughtfulness.
The project by Phoenix Art Space temporary resident Nina Wakeford brought together established artists Claire Makhlouf Carter and Joseph Noonan-Ganley, both faculty at Goldsmiths, University of London. Claire and Joseph were invited to create or re-invent works for the Project Space, building on their existing practices. The resulting artworks were then animated by a text by Nina, and were launched as an exhibition at the end of August.
Dr Claire Makhlouf Carter’s innovative artworks often begin with a script which manifests the politics of labour. Amongst other exhibitions, she was included in the prominent Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition ‘In a Dream You Saw a Way To Survive and You Were Full of Joy’ (2016).
For this project she explored the erasable capabilities of Toshiba’s Hybrid MFP, brought into a public exhibition for the first time.
Intrigued after hearing a piece on the radio about erasable technology, Dr Claire Makhlouf Carter, Programme Leader of Fine Arts at Goldsmiths, considered the possibilities for this concept in the art arena, particularly in her capacity as a script writer, a role in which there are many iterations and versions of a text, and editing requirements. Claire comments, “This type of technology was new to me, and it started me thinking about the potential in a university environment, where there is a huge amount of paper waste. I thought about how I could draw attention by experimenting with the functionality of the machine helping gain maximum awareness and exposure by using the device as a sculpture, instrument, performer and highlighting it as an erasable printer. It seemed that integrating into our next exhibition would be a perfect way to do this.”
After some research into the manufacturers behind the innovation, Claire discovered that Toshiba were the pioneers, and approached their marketing department to see if they would be willing to support her project with the supply, set-up and integration of a hybrid device into the exhibition. Sarah Kochli, Head of Marketing spoke about Toshiba’s commitment to supporting sustainability projects and the importance of the Hybrid MFP as part of the companies’ portfolio, “As an organisation sustainability is a core part of our corporate philosophy and everything we do is aimed at achieving a low-carbon, recycling-based society. When Claire contacted me about exploring the capabilities of the Hybrid MFP, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to showcase the technology to a student audience, who are very environmentally conscious and willing to adapt their behaviour to help reduce consumption of the planets resources. We were happy to provide Claire with a machine and the support needed to install as part of the project.”
Toshiba’s experienced Solution Design & Implementation team were able to integrate the machine to operate exactly as Claire had envisaged as part of the exhibition, with microphones to elevate the sound of the device working and the removal of paper trays so paper littered the floor when printing. This created the maximum impact for the visitors, who were intrigued by the hybrid printer. Claire commented on the audiences’ reactions, “When the onlookers picked-up the script from the floor assistants demonstrated how to erase the copy through the Toshiba device. People were amazed by the “magic” of the machine, sparking a whole host of questions, ‘how does it happen’, ‘what is the process’, ‘where does the ink go’, it also started many conversations about the green issues and how many times the paper could go through the erasing process. It achieved what we set out to do, which was to create an artwork from the device and show that there is an eco-friendly way of recycling printed material.”
So how does the he hybrid technology work? It combines conventional printing with erasable printing, allowing for reuse of standard office paper over and over again. By using either regular black or erasable blue toner these hybrid models are capable of printing conventional, permanent documents as well as temporary, erasable documents. Via the unique erase function of the systems the toner on the temporary documents can be wiped and the paper can then be reused for printing. To simplify the usage, a rule-based printing feature allows users to define individual rules to automatically switch from one printing mode to another depending on the application being used.
This type of technology could help companies who want to be ecological and still be economical and efficient, save up to 80% on paper by reusing it up to eight times.
Claire concluded on the project, “As with many administrative environments, universities and education establishments unfortunately create a lot of paper waste. Many documents are printed, looked at and then thrown into the recycling bin. At Goldsmiths we are encouraging students to think about the resources that they use whether it is “clay”, “paper” or any other material and be more thoughtful about the consumption of those resources. Toshiba’s erasable technology, perfectly demonstrates that there are innovative ways of managing printing and copying not only to be environmentally conscious, but also to potentially save a substantial amount of money on paper usage. This is definitely the way forward and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Toshiba Hybrid MFP to other universities. The device is such a magnificent and independent thing full of trickery”