eCO2system (2019 – 2020). Interactive data-driven installation (custom electronics, custom software, microprocessor, peristaltic pump, LCD screen, aquarium, water, fish, data from twitter)
eCO2system is the third project of the Social Things series. Social Things are augmented common objects that dynamically change parameters of their functionality and appearance according to data retrieved from social media activity. They reflect on behaviors that appear on social networks such as the divergence between digital & physical identities, dataveillance by authorities, and internet materiality. The Social Things series consists of three projects: inflated_ego, #freeprometheus and eCO2system
The operation of internet presupposes a physical infrastructure that consumes natural resources and pollutes the environment. Daily online activity harms the environment, despite the ecological awareness users may promote on social networks. Social media platforms are among the most visited sites worldwide and their use contributes to the increase of CO2 emissions. Moreover, the intentional obfuscation of internet materiality by economic and political authorities aim at hiding power relationships from perception and control.
eCO2system reflects on social and political impact of internet materiality and the physical consecquenses of our digital activity.
It consists of an aquarium containing a micro-scale ecosystem of fish. Parameters of the ecosystem change dynamically according to real-time data retrieved from the social media platform Twitter. Tweets that promote climate change awareness deteriorate the conditions of the ecosystem, thus drawing attention on the physical consequences of our digital actions.
In concrete, the aquarium is augmented with a peristaltic pump controlled by a custom electronic circuit. Whenever a new tweet tagged with the hashtag #StopClimateChange is detected, the peristaltic pump is activated and it pumps water from the aquarium to an auxiliary water container (the quantity of water cannot be decreased under a certain level to ensure that the eco-system will not be damaged).
Exhibition: 16th Athens Digital Arts Festival. Online edition. July-September 2020
The proposal of the project has been shortlisted for the EMARE 2019 award by the European Media Art Platform.
Related Talk: “Augmented objects interacting with social media activity” @ Ionian Academy, Corfu, May 2019
An online interactive graphical simulation of the installation has been created using node.js and p5.js