The Psychedelic Beauty of Destroyed CDs

Like many teenagers growing up in the early- to mid-aughts, Russian photographer Rus Khasanov spent an obscene amount of money on CDs. He displayed his favorites on a shelf—Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP, Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black, assorted Harry Potter soundtracks—and protected the rest inside black faux-leather binders, handling the discs with utmost care.

Photograph: Rus Khasanov Young Khasanov could have never imagined the abuse he now inflicts on them. For his series Disctortion, Khasanov burns old CDs and DVDs with a lighter, dips them in bleach, and rips them apart with his hands. By destroying the discs and photographing them up close, he gives this dead-end technology new life—as psychedelic entertainment for the eyes. “It’s amazing to see all these vivid, multi-colored textures and know it’s just a photo of a physical object,” Khasanov says.

Photograph: Rus Khasanov
In 2006, Khasanov bought his first MP3 player. He stopped buying CDs three years later and now he doesn’t even own an external disk drive—much less a boombox—to play them on, preferring to stream all his music through Apple Music. But in October, while walking down the street in Ekaterinburg, he spotted a glint of sunlight reflecting off a 1990s Russian pop compilation lying on the road, causing it to shimmer with all the colors of the rainbow. Khasanov hurried home, unearthed his neglected collection, and photographed a scratched disc up close. The result “hypnotized me,” he says.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired https://www.wired.com/story/destroyed-cd-photography