A new major exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. focuses on the influence of cellphones and their global connections. Named "Cellphone: Unseen Connections," the exhibit delves into the societal, environmental, and technological effects of these devices. Featuring over 750 items from various parts of the world, including objects and multimedia displays like videos and interactive chats, the exhibition offers insights into the intricate ties between cellphones and different aspects of life. Dr. Josh Lepawsky, a geography professor, played a key role in bringing this unique exhibit to life. He provided input on its design, narratives, and overall visitor experience. The exhibit emphasizes diverse associations with mobile phones encompassing elements like resource extraction, software engineering, disposal practices, and repair efforts. Dr. Lepawsky underscores the exhibit's ability to connect people globally to its content in Washington, which helps people realize how the device in their pocket is the result of efforts coordinated all over the globe. A renowned authority in e-waste studies, Dr. Lepawsky has also published a book that is an examination of the global trade and traffic in discarded electronics that reframes the question of the “right” thing to do with e-waste.
Read more about Dr. Lepawsky’s book “Discard Studies: Wasting, Systems, and Power” here.