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Internet's Emergy

Internet's Emergy (embedded energy) is a speculative design project which tries to comment on our current behavior with internet usage and tries to make people aware of the environmental impact of using the internet extensively. 

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The project was selected and highlighted at National Institute of Design's annual design show - lines of sight

Gaea Exhibition New York

The project was exhibited at a physical exhibition in New York and chosen for panel discussions

Research

Research involved understanding the current conceptual model of the internet. Dark interaction patterns are present in our day to day interactions with smart devices.  Ways that ethical user interactions are designed. How is the current gap between data and energy filled.

Various aspects related to Data, Energy, Internet Usage and CO2 emissions were mapped out. Interesting insights such as the philosophical model of energy with potentiality and flux were investigated. Alternate ways of measuring CO2 emissions were looked at such as the global hectare and earth overshoot day.

Based on these insights, a new proposed conceptual framework for a unit was established which helps in looking at data and energy in a new light. This framework accounts for data usage in terms of energy cost and is called the Data-Energy Unit or DEU. It is proposed that it can be used in the form of an alternative currency system for our daily interactions with internet and electronic appliances.

World Building

WILDFIRES AND RISING SEA-LEVELS MAKE MIGRATION A NORM. VAST AMOUNTS OF PEOPLE ARE DISPLACED FROM THEIR HOMES. INTERNET CONNECTIVITY IS UBIQUITOUSLY AVAILABLE THROUGH SATELLITE. THESE NEW “DIGITAL NOMADS” ARE SEEN CARRYING PHONES, LAPTOPS AND TABLETS ALONG WITH THEIR ESSENTIALS AND VALUABLES AS THEY COVER VAST DISTANCES.

A world building exercise was carried out using methodologies from the Extrapolation Factory. A new world was envisioned where the use of DEU could be highlighted and critical issues would be brought to the viewers attention.

Interactive Artefacts

For people to experience DEU, physical working artefacts were designed and created to be a part of an exhibition. These artefacts needed to communicate the narrative of the world as well as the interaction needed to be designed to explain the concept of DEU intuitively.

The basic premise of the interaction would involve a user accessing the project website. Though for the user to unlock the website, they will have to plug in the DEU accounter. Then for every action on the website, certain DEU will be deducted from the accounter. Overtime as DEU reaches zero, the user will have to harvest DEU from a plant incubator.

Blueprints

With lack of stable infrastructure, manufacturing is not an option. The nomads are responsible for creating their own tools and devices by salvaging parts left from their ancestors. Blueprints are sold which show how to build devices. The blueprints contain all the information about the device and also gives an idea of where the parts for making the device can be found.

Website

Interactions on the website. Each action that uses bandwidth has an associated DEU cost. The images do not load right away to save DEU. The overall theme of the website is dark to reduce power consumption. Downloading resources and knowledge requires spending DEU.

Gaea Exhibition

The project was exhibited in a physical exhibition in New York. It was also selected for panel discussion where valuable feedback was received from a panel of futurist, technologist and designers.

Gaea: A Garden of the 2nd and 3rd Dimensions’ is an immersive exhibition exploring Artificial Intelligence which is the brainchild of Luisa Charles. The physical exhibition went live in New York City on 11th & 12th December 2021. Gaea: A Garden of the 2nd and 3rd Dimensions is an immersive exhibition at the intersections of art, science, and technology. It explores the nature of Artificial Intelligence: its emancipatory potentials, ethical concerns, and creative and unconventional uses of the technology - through the lens of a liminal garden. The space is organized by heaven, hell, and purgatory, and explores the spaces in between the digital and physical worlds, the 2nd and 3rd dimensions, natural and artificial spaces, and dystopia and utopia.

Going Ahead...

This project is work in progress. Going ahead, an online experience is planned wherein anyone can interact with the story and the artefacts virtually and get to experience DEU.