Sensing the Planetary
Installation and interaction design by: Dotdotdot
Earth Bits – Sensing the Planetary is a data-driven installation developed by the research and interaction design studio Dotdotdot that unpacks the complexities of the climate science measuring humankind’s carbon footprint through graphic and digital content, animated videos and an interactive station.
The four sections of this unprecedented work, developed with the scientific support of the European Space Agency (ESA), International Energy Agency (IEA) and EDP (Energias de Portugal) Innovation, together demonstrate how the mundane flux of human outputs is vitally connected to the bio-systems of the Earth’s resources and outline the causes and effects of their resulting rapid depletion.
These four moments represent a progressive journey through interconnected ranges of phenomena, scales and perceptions. Starting by contextualizing the topic through a visualisation of the changing patterns of electricity consumption in Portugal over the 2019–2020 biennium, the installation opens with a 12-metre-long graphic mural that meticulously illustrates the mechanisms for harvesting and extraction that power nearly every action in our daily lives.
Presented in a separate immersive audio-visual environment are two interfacing components. The first is the “CO2 Mixer” — a multi-user interactive console with an animated graphic interface designed to identify the environmental impact of individual human actions as measured by their carbon footprint. By inputting individual values, i.e. choices, through controllers in categories like Nutrition, Mobility, Housing, the animated interface renders their compound effects at different territorial scales. It also allows consultation and comparison of the qualitative and quantitative data surrounding the negative impact of industry practices and consumption trends, as well as computing the effects of different global policies and action formulated to counteract predictions of climate warming. A data sonification programme especially devised for the installation connects interactions with the console to a musical landscape that mirrors the measured degrees of negative or positive impact. The second interface is a video compiled with data sourced from the ESA Copernicus programme of sentinels that scan and monitor the Earth. Through original satellite imagery and data, this cosmological vantage point offers a view and explanation of the historical correlation between rising anthropogenic GHG emissions and the increasing environmental occurrence of phenomena like floods, droughts and wildfires.
Earth Bits is a two-year project. Its second phase will launch in March 2022 with additional and updated content. It is made possible by the continued partnership with Novo Verde and ERP (European Recycling Platform) Portugal.
This project inaugurates maat Explorations, a programme framework launched in 2021 that features an ongoing series of exhibitions and public and educational projects which delve into the multifaceted subject of environmental transformation from various scholarly and experimental vantage points.
For details on relevant public programmes and information on the series of projects developed by the newly formed maat Climate Collective, check the In Time section of this website and our digital platform maat ext.
The second part of this project, Visual Natures: The Politics and Culture of Environmentalism in the 20th and 21st Centuries, will open on March 2022.
Art Director: Beatrice Leanza
Research and Curatorial Team: Beatrice Leanza, Nuno Ferreira de Carvalho, Rita Marques, Camila Maissune, Amir Halabi, Barbara Borges Campos
Installation and interaction design: Dotdotdot (Alessandro Masserdotti, Laura Dellamotta, Fabrizio Pignoloni, Sara Maniscalco, Federica Mandelli, Ambhika Samsen, Daniele Ciminieri, Nicola Ariutti, Giuseppe Cirillo, Tiziano Berti, Martina Merigo)
Partners: Novo Verde e ERP (European Recycling Platform) Portugal
Sponsors: International Energy Agency
With the scientific support of: European Space Agency, Portugal Space, EDP Innovation
(Alexandre Gouveia, André Botelho, António Vidigal, Christina Lock, Hugo Albuquerque, Luís Manuel, Mário Guerreiro, Nuno Rodrigues, Pedro Miguel Ferreira, Pedro Tavares Ferreira), EDP Sustainability – Climate and Environment (Ana Júlia Pinto, Pedro Paes, Sara Goulartt), EDP Distribution (Anderson Soares, António Amorim, Hugo Craveiro, Isabel Fonseca, Samuel Pinto)