Online catalogue / Stefan Baumgartner :

Behind the Screen - The Life of my Computer
Behind the Screen – Das Leben meines Computers
AT / 2011
60 min.

Seven computers per second are produced worldwide. Behind the Screen casts a formidable glance behind the facade of the electronics industry. The starting point is Ghana’s rainforest. There, young gold diggers stand up to their knees in mud. They slave away in the tropical heat with shovels and pickaxes. Gold has become a curse for them, as large mining companies have long been taking the valuable land away from them and the rivers have been poisoned by the quicksilver and cyanide used for extraction. The collected gold finds its way to computers’ circuit boards. The price of electronics has been falling for years. In the Czech Republic, workers put together computers; they bear the brunt of global competition in the sector. In a dark alley in Pardubice, Janko explains that he works on the assembly line for a pittance of two to three euros per hour, twelve hours a day, six days a week. Some workers pass out, some collapse. The manufactured computers’ life expectancy is constantly dropping and new models flood the market daily. The trail of discarded PCs leads back to Ghana. Dark clouds rise from the electronics scrap yard in Agbogbloshie: An apocalyptic scene – as though directly from a film about the world’s last days. Computer screens, printers, and keyboards tower several meters high. Every month, 500 container loads of electronic scrap from industrial countries land in Ghana. Officially declared as “second-hand goods,” ninety percent of it is already trash upon arrival. Children tear apart computers with their bare hands, destroy the screens. When they burn the plastic cases, the flames flare up in a glare; poisonous vapors hit them directly in the face. Selling the metal remain brings a meager income. The toxic heritage of the information age claims its victims. (Brigitte Reisenberger)

Translation: Lisa Rosenblatt

A film by:
- Stefan Baumgartner

category:
- Documentary

original language:
- Various

Available Prints:
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- Bluray

price: 200 EUR

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