Polynesian electromagnetic devices


Peter Marigold (who is part of the group that designed the truly gorgeous PSP-sculptures) at the RCA in London has reconstructed a series of devices that have been in use by the isolated Myuck Ma people of Polynesia as found out in 1985 by Jeremy Tussle. The artifacts range from a printed circuit board used as a scarification device to integrate electronic designs into traditional Polynesian imagery to self-igniting tobacco pipes. Apparently, the devices evolved following the capsizing of the Taiwanese container ship Lunchuaun in 1979. The ship dumped several tons of electrical equipment onto the local beaches whereupon the islanders began developing simple electromagnetic devices using copper wire and the locally found magnetic volcanic rocks.

Or not? It’s all not exactly true but Marigold’s designs work very well in creating a narration that helps in taking a look at electronic devices from the outside, providing alternative takes on technological artifacts and their purpose.

Related: more projects from the same exhibition and Volume by Peter Marigold.