“Aprototools,” is a neologism created from the prefix a-, meaning “not,” prototype, and tool—so an aprototool is not a prototype for a tool.
I first created these collaged images for a poster and other printed materials advertising Southern Exposure’s annual fundraising auction. Later I decided they were interesting in their own right. The source for the images is a set of tool identification flash cards that was used in teaching beginning industrial arts students. As our economy and culture have shifted away from manufacturing toward information fewer of us have experience with shop tools (industrial arts is no longer taught in our public schools) or know how to fix things when they break. Even as someone familiar with tools I draw a blank at many of the flash cards. They have become emblematic of this particular transition from general to arcane knowledge. Aprototools plays on this phenomenon. At first glance the tools appear to be a taxonomy belonging to a long forgotten trade, but upon closer inspection their uselessness is obvious.