Powerplant investigates the ways in which we conceive of the (in)visible infrastructure of the Internet: the switches, routers, underwater cables, signal repeaters, servers, and data centers across the globe and the coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear reactions, wind, sun, and waves that it takes to use them.
The project invites people from around the globe to keep a plant alive by switching on lights in a real-world installation. Each set of three lights visualizes the power consumed by one visitor to the site using measures indicated in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. Visitors can watch the lights over the plant turn on and off in real time as others join and leave. Over the month-long duration of the first iteration of the project, the plant grew and developed a new leaf. The second iteration was hosted online as part of The Wrong Biennale and in a physical exhibition in Rabat, Malta.
The project explores the invisible components of global infrastructure that cross continents and oceans to serve the Internet. This complex, massive, human-made apparatus provokes awe at the ability of humans to coordinate and maintain such a vast global structure and at its invisible nature that keeps it out of mind and allows us to forget the consumption and waste it necessitates.
Code for the project here.
Timelapse over the course of the installation: