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Exhibit features scorched, mangled Apple gear

A photo display picturing deliberately destroyed Apple gadgets explores the relationship between consumers and their new toys. Apple devotees might want to proceed with caution.

Burned iPad
The iPad in "Book Burning" has seen better days. Michael Tompert and Paul Fairchild

Warning: brand-new Apple products were harmed in the making of the 12LVE photography exhibit.

As in run over by a train, shot up with bullets, and burned with a blowtorch. Michael Tompert, a San Francisco-area digital-imaging and CGI artist, purchased the gadgets with the express intent of destroying them, then photographing them. His aim was to make a provocative yet humorous (if costly) statement on consumers' attachment to their shiny new electronic toys. Especially wildly popular ones of the Apple variety.

12LVE includes 12 giant high-resolution digital photos of mangled Apple products, including an iPhone 3G, an iPhone 4, an iPad, MacBook Airs, and iPod Nanos, photographed by Tompert's friend Paul Fairchild.

The colorful and surprisingly striking prints are currently on display at the WhiteSpace Gallery, located inside the hat store Brim in Palo Alto, Calif., not far from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino.

"The images are large-scale yet microscopic, providing a canvas for contemplating our relationship with fetish, fashion, freedom, and bondage," reads a statement by the artist, who originally hails from Stuttgart, Germany.

While Apple fans aghast at the sight of mutilated iGear might be quick to label Tompert an Apple hater, the artist previously worked as part of the company's graphic-design team and stresses that he's been an Apple fan since the early days. In fact, the idea for 12LVE, he has said, came from watching his two sons fight over a game on an iPod Touch he gave them for Christmas. Tired of their squabbling and wanting to make the point that the gadget was just that--a gadget--he grabbed the device and threw it to the ground.

"They were kind of stunned--the screen was broken, and this liquid poured out of it. I got my camera to shoot it," Tompert told the Los Angeles Times. The innards were beautiful in an odd sort of way. "My wife told me that I should do something with it," Tompert said.

So he started amassing Apple products, finding creative ways to kill them, then hauling their carcasses into the studio for photography shoots with Fairchild. And in case you've ever wanted to see what a MacBook Air looks like with a gun to its head, Cult of Mac has some great shots of the making of 12LVE.

These shots, we should caution, may severely traumatize Apple devotees.

Caltrain Fatalities
"Caltrain Fatalities: Left Track/Right Track." Here's what it looks like when a train runs over a bunch of iPad Nanos. Michael Tompert and Paul Fairchild