Invisible Airs, Council Chamber Room, Bristol, UK

bnr#40 => Invisible Airs, Council Chamber Room, Bristol, UK

Paper Shredder

Object: 39

Paper Shredder

Date of origin: 1930s
Author/inventor/context: Adolf Ehinger, Germany

The paper shredder was  supposedly developed to destroy anti-Nazi materials, and it was  modelled on a hand-cranked pasta maker. After the war, institutions started buying the device, and it has figured prominently in scandals such as Iran-Contra and Enron. Shredding is today promoted as a remedy against information fraud, and as such may be grouped among the paranoia-inducing devices that proliferate in information societies. The shredder also testifies to the futility of deletion in the current context: most data can not be destroyed with the aid of a shredder, as it lives on inaccessible machines in unknown locations. When used as a footrest, the shredder may eat your shoelace, returning a modicum of physicality to a screen-centred life.

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