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Made On Earth

Reports from the world of backyard technology

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Tom Van Eynde

Dead Laptops

Chicago-based artist Michael Dinges’ work is reminiscent of scrimshaw and trench art. For the uninitiated, scrimshaw began in the 18th century, when sailors started carving designs into teeth, bones, and tusks. Trench art involved decorating spent artillery shell and bullet casings to create ornamental items.

Dinges evolved from scratching images into PVC pipe elbows with an engraving needle to using a Dremel. Soon he found a new “canvas” of sorts: the plastic ...

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