Eyebeam’s expansive new exhibition, FEEDBACK, surveys artists, designers, architects and engineers on the topic of sustainability, and presents their responses—19 projects varying from public art projects and industrial design to DIY energy solutions and software tools—to inspire discussion and action on this pervasive (and increasingly commodified) subject.
As the culmination of Eyebeam’s Beyond Light Bulbs programming series, the show highlights the concerns, interests and work of Eyebeam’s Sustainability Research Group, with work by individuals, collectives, students, local community groups and the Eco-Vis Challenge winners. Free, artist-run workshops are integral to the exhibition’s design and are scheduled Saturdays throughout the show’s duration.
The exhibition’s title, FEEDBACK, refers to the self-correcting mechanisms by which systems—in this case, ecological—respond to the influence they exert on their environments. The works on display echo this recursive dynamic, from Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley’s DrinkPeeDrinkDrinkPee sewage processing organ, to Natalie Jeremijenko’s tadpole-dispensing prescription from the walk-in Environmental Health Clinic for the ecologically unwell. In direct response to the world’s loss of crop biodiversity—as much as 70 percent in the 20th century—Leah Gauthier’s Sow-In will engage the public, in partnership with local community gardening groups, to sow the seeds of those food plants most in danger of extinction.
Numerous projects in the exhibition address energy consumption, production and harvesting: A visitor enters the exhibition through Fluxxlab’s Revolution Door, a modified revolving door that harnesses and redistributes human energy. Mouna Andraos’ The Power Cart is a mobile unit that delivers alternative power to people on the street, and Jeff Feddersen’s installation The Off-Grid Outlet is a solar-powered AC outlet and 12V DC power port destined for the Brooklyn restaurant Cafe Habana. Building on existing urban infrastructure, Andrea Polli’s Queensbridge Wind Power Project investigates how clean, renewable wind power might be integrated into the landmark architecture of the Queensboro Bridge.
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to view and ride a prototype of the free, sustainable wooden bicycles that Rogers Marvel Architects, together with West 8 designed as part of their winning entry for the redesign of Governors Island. A need to track, understand and communicate environmental change is at the heart of Preemptive Media’s Area’s Immediate Reading project, a portable, air quality monitoring device for urban individuals and groups to self-identify pollution sources, and a platform to discuss energy politics.
The Living’s Living City is a design for an ecology of facades in which individual buildings collect data, share it with others in their social network via wireless transmission, and respond to the collective body of knowledge. Michael Mandiberg’s The Real Costs, a Firefox plug-in that inserts emissions data into travel related e-commerce websites, presents yet another means of using environmental data—on the level of individual consumption.
Recognizing that poorly communicated messages often fall on deaf ears, FEEDBACK artists Eve Mosher and Brooke Singer translate existing information into immediate and digestible forms. Mosher’s HighWaterLine is a public artwork on NYC’s waterfront that demonstrates the impact of climate on NYC residents.
Over a period of six months, Mosher drew a blue chalk line marking the 10- feet above sea level line, demarcating the areas most at risk for flooding. Brooke Singer’s Superfund365, A Site-A-Day, is an online data visualization application with an accompanying RSS- feed and email alert system. Each day for a year, beginning September 1, 2007, Superfund365 profiles one toxic site currently active within the Superfund program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Eyebeam’s 2007 Eco-Vis Challenge competition asked artists and designers to persuasively package eco-data, within two categories: icons and visualizations. Six winning and finalist projects are showcased in FEEDBACK. The winning entry in the Eco-Visualization category was The Studio for Urban Projects’ Strange Weather, a project that considers the semiotics of global environmental change. Relying on Internet news sources, Strange Weather graphs the usage patterns of the buzzwords that characterize the dialog around climate change, on the premise that language is critical to how we perceive and address our role within the environment.
The Green Map® System’s Green Map® Icons is a suite of icons designed collaboratively, and spread to more than 50 countries around the globe, for assessing environmental resources currently available to local communities. Version 3 of this iconography received an Honorable Mention in the data visualization category.
Timm Kekeritz’s VirtualWater and WaterFootprint posters, which received an Honorable Mention within the Eco-Vis category, function as illustrated summaries of the virtual water issue, mapping freshwater use against consumption patterns, and across nations. Annina Rüst’s Eco-Vis submission, which also received an Honorable Mention, addresses consumption and excess quite literally. Her eRiceCooker tracks Internet news about genetically modified rice; at each report published online, the cooker dispenses a quarter cup of rice into the pot; at four quarters full, water is added, the rice is cooked, and participants are notified their meal is ready via email.
The art group Forays received an Honorable Mention for their Edible Excess icon-stickers designating edible waste, and Oz Etzioni’s Unrecyclable was named the winner within the Eco-Icon category, for his icon designating unrecylable material. Both demonstrate the power of effective imagery in raising environmental awareness.
A series of short video-documentaries by Brooklyn artists’ collective Not An Alternative, commissioned especially for FEEDBACK, documents the making of each of the displayed projects, providing insight into the creative process. These videos will be screened in the main gallery, and will be available for download from Eyebeam’s website (for portable .mpeg playing devices), or for viewing on personal PlayStations available for loan during the exhibition.
Artist-led workshops will offer a unique opportunity to brainstorm with FEEDBACK artists and experiment with the methods, tools and strategies on display.
WORKSHOPS + EVENTI
Saturday, March 29 Time: 3PM Location: Eyebeam Cost: Free
Sustainability + Architecture
Date: Saturday, April 5 Time: 3 – 6PM
Alternative Energy Sources + Use/Reuse Workshops
Date: Saturday, April 19 Time: 3 – 6PM
Sustainability Action Day: Toxic Tours + Urban Gardening