Nuking Your Nintendo: Neo-Dadaism and First World Junk

Microwaving a Nintendo is now considered art, at least according to my very reliable internet sources. Whether the part considered art is the performance of placing an aging (though actually still valuable) video game console into a kitchen appliance for the entertainment of others, or the resulting charred gray and black sculpture, I’m not certain. Perhaps the destroyed microwave is also part of intentional ballet of destruction. As I ponder this art form, I am torn by two battling feelings.

First, as a classically trained artist (seriously, I have a fine arts degree) I love the idea of weird Dada-esque performance/garbage stuff as art. If Marcel Duchamp can stick a urinal with some random graffiti on it in a museum and call it art, then a melted Nintendo husk counts too. I’ve seen some weird stuff called art. (I’ll talk about the artist who pours molten aluminum in ant mounds to make negative space sculptures at the expense of thousands of ant lives some other time.) The performativity of nuking a Nintendo and displaying the resulting mess definitely resonates with my anti-establishment retro-resistance artist self big time. I love it as art. But…

My bleeding-heart-liberal-neo-hippy-depressed-about-climate-change-and-poverty self feels that this kind of waste and destruction is a privilege of middle class hipster artists who don’t recognize that the wanton destruction of technology in this way creates both toxic pollution and actual trash for Mom Nature to try to decompose. This doesn’t count as up-cycling, kids. Honestly, how many of these destroyed Nintendos (and the microwaves) are actually going to end up in the Louvre (or is it in the Met?) with Duchamp’s toilet? None. They’re all going to end up in a landfill. Also, the money these pseudo-progressive hipsters drop on the whole procedure could be better spent on something that actually helps other humans. Also, I’m annoyed because I want to play The Legend of Zelda and there are now fewer consoles on which to do so.

I ‘m getting a vision: Instead of the destruction of actual objects, I suggest these post-modern wannabes make a film in which Mario slips into his Tanooki suit and flies over a landscape of garbage piled high with destroyed electronics while children from developing nations poke through the heaps in search of scraps to sell for food. As Tanooki Mario sails through the air, his sightseeing shows viewers the leftover reality of Western (and wealthy Eastern) technology. Someone go make that movie. We could call it Super Mario Third World. I am a terrible person.

In summation, Dada is awesome, Hipsters are wasteful, and I am confused because I both love and hate the creation of art.