Here’s where we share all the cool projects we’ve come across. Ones that inspire, surprise and touch the heart. In all these ways we see how artists open new avenues for change. Click on the categories below to browse our directory of projects. Enjoy!
5 Recent Things
Birding the Future
Birding the Future is a sound and stereoscopic installation that brings extinct birds back to life. Reflecting on the role of birds as warning messengers and their disappearance as part of the ‘sixth extinction’, the project asks: “What does it mean that we can only see and hear extinct species through technology? How can traditional ecological knowledge be combined with technological advances to increase awareness of our role in the environment?”
Artist Jiayu Liu uses wind data from 40 Chinese cities to power a poetic installation that seeks to test the boundaries of data representation at the same time connecting us to a powerful force of nature. An innovative use of city data, we’re excited by what the work of this RCA graduate might bring to the realisation of more sensitive and sustainable urban environments.
Could it take a a synthetic representation of nature to jolt us back into re-appreciating its beauty and our reliance upon it? That’s one the questions Pierre Proske is seeking to explore with his Brickets. So named for their chirping sounds and brickish size, the Brickets reinterpret data from local environmental sources such as the nearest home’s water usage, into animal like calls, which rise and ebb in response to one another, much like a synthesised colony of frogs, cicadas or crickets.
KiloWatt Hours, by Sydney based artist Tega Brain, uses lasers to inscribe in space the fluctuations of energy used by the surrounding building over time. KiloWatt Hours thus converts energy meter data into the readable form of an ‘energy clock.’, and the audience is prompted to consider the invisible consumption of energy in everyday life. Over time the laser light fades, and KiloWatt Hours forgets itself, in the same way we let our own energy use slip from memory.
A simple representation of Sydney’s climate data, Mitchell Whitelaw’s Measuring Cup makes it possible to hold the past 150 years of temperature information in the palm of your hand. Generated and printed using 3D technology, Measuring Cup uses temperature averages, like the rings of a tree, only stacked vertically. The result is delicate and beautiful, like the climate it represents, and it raises the question ‘what shape will it take in 10, 20 or 50 years?’
5 Random Things
The Canary Project
The Canary Project is Edward Morris and Susannah Sayler, two Americans who have successfully set out to meet the aims of this organisation to energise action on climate change through the production of visual art, design and events that increase understanding of climate change with the public. Since 2006, The Canary Project has generated and supported a diverse body of work, and remains one of only two US arts organisations solely dedicated to art about climate change.
Natural Fuse is city-wide network of units each consisting of a plant, an electrical device (a lamp or radio), a plug, a fuse and water bottles. Designed by artist Usman Haque, the self-sustinaning network of units acts as a very tangible and didactic means for exploring our impact on the global environment in a local way. The units, given to individual householders, are are connected to each other via sensors and a web-based platform. The plants’ individual and collective survival depends on the actions of the set of owners in the way they use the electrical devices that are connected to them. A little like a carbon-trading scheme in reverse, the ability of the network of plants to store carbon is the limiting factor on the extent to which the energy consuming devices, for example, can be switched on. Interestingly, users can also opt to be selfish by continuing to use the device beyond the carrying capacity of the system. If they do so, however, they will kill someone else’s plant. An intricate lesson in science and morality, Usman’s work is still actively employed by a few selfless survivors in New York, USA, San Sebastien, Spain and Sydney, Australia.
Nuage Vert, or Green Cloud, is a public art installation by artists HeHe performed in Helsinki in 2008 in collaboration with Helsinki Energy. By projecting green light onto the smoke emitted from a city power station the changing output of the station is visible. This provided a means for communicating the results of efforts to reduce energy use in the district, whereby campaigns to turn off lights, and so forth, had visible effect.Helsinki Energy initiated a release of real-time energy information as a result. A clever and simple way to provide a feedback loop to the public, Nuage Vert looks is seeking funds to do the same in Paris.
Feral Robotic Dogs
Feral Robotic Dogs is a project initiated by artist, Natalie Jeremijenko, who heads up xDesign Environmental Health Clinicat New York University. Robotic dogs, desperate to perform more useful tasks than the ones they were programmed for, are released into contaminated environments where they can ‘sniff’ out harmful chemicals and communicate this information to interested community members via an open source platform. A playful introduction to a serious topic, feral robotic dogs is one of a series of projects by Jeremijenko that explore the use of art and technology to effect social and environmental change
eARTh: Art for a Changing World
In December 2009, at the time of the UNFCCC Climate Conference, the Royal Academy of the Arts was home to this exhibition of 30 leading international contemporary artists, demonstrating the role that art can play in communicating the relevance of climate change to our daily lives. Video art, installation, photography, sculpture and painting are all represented in a myriad of often touching, challenging and revealing observations of our current plight and potential response.