ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS IN TRY THIS AT HOME: CO2PENHAGEN (DENMARK), HAQUE DESIGN + RESEARCH (UK), MAGNIFICENT REVOLUTION AUSTRALIA + JESSICA COUGHLAN (AUSTRALIA), MAKESHIFT (AUSTRALIA) AND SLOW ART COLLECTIVE (AUSTRALIA)
The documentary film CO2PENHAGEN Festival tells the story of CO2PENHAGEN – the first art and music festival in the world to rely completely on sustainable energy. CO2PENHAGEN was held two months before the 2009 COP15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and all the energy was produced on location. Over two days, the festival presented 40 bands and the newest green technology to an audience of 8,000 people – all without emitting extra CO2.
The aim was to demonstrate existing green technologies in a new inspiring context. The festival’s definition of sustainability is to be self-sufficient, without the need to buy carbon-offsets. The founders wanted to open the doors for a world of new green technology. By putting them into a concrete function, they demonstrated that an environmentally friendly society on 100 percent renewable energy is possible. Right now!
Sixty-five percent of the energy used was provided by a ‘Stirling engine’ running on organic matter. The rest was provided by a gasify system and two generators running on second-generation bio-ethanol and rapeseed oil. Solar cells and bicycles were also used. Not only was the festival CO2-neutral, the festival ended up producing more energy than it needed. At the end of the festival, the CO2-neutral engines had produced I Megawatt hour more than what was used.
CO2PENHAGEN hopes to inspire other festivals and the society around us by demonstrating that a green future is full of new exciting opportunities.
CO2PENHAGEN was founded by radio journalist Katrine Vejby and architect Nina Louise Jensen.
Katrine Vejby worked as a radio producer for the BBC World Service for ten years – first on youth and music programmes, for which she worked with stars such as Joe Strummer of the Clash and Steve Merchant (co-writer and producer of The Office), and later producing documentary programmes that were broadcast around the world.
In 2007 she returned to Denmark where she developed and edited Nyhedsministeriet, a daily news magazine programme for TV2 Radio (Danish national radio), which went on to win the Radiodays award for best news programme in Denmark.
Nina Louise Jensen graduated from the Royal Danish School of Architecture in 2005. She has worked at three different architecture studios, among them a studio in Iceland and later at the Danish office Jes Vagnby Arkitektur & Identitet. Here she worked with identity development and physical planning of Roskilde Festival 07 and 08.
CO2PENHAGEN was part of the UN’s Environmental Program and has been recognised for being among the first 100 members of the UN’s Climate Neutral Network, CN-Net. In 2008 CO2PENHAGEN received the coveted special prize for best innovation at the Climate Cup awards, created to acknowledge Danish climate initiatives. www.co2penhagen.com
HAQUE DESIGN + RESEARCH
Every seemingly helpful device that a human being uses has its own carbon ‘footprint’ which, in excess, can harm other living beings. Natural Fuse is a micro scale CO2 monitoring and overload protection framework that works locally and globally, harnessing the carbon-sinking capabilities of plants. Natural Fusecreates a collective ‘carbon sink’, that offsets the amount of energy consumed by the plant owners – a natural ‘circuit breaker’.
Natural Fuseallows only a limited amount of energy to be expended in the system; that amount is balanced by the amount of CO2 that can be absorbed by the plants that are growing in the system. By networking them together, the plants are able to share their
capacity and take advantage of carbon-sinking-surplus in the system since not all Natural Fuse units will be in use at any one time. Accompanying the units developed for the project is a website that enables people and plants to connect. Part of Natural Fuse‘s approach is to raise awareness of energy expenditure and encourage people to collaborate to share.
Usman Haque has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and mass-participation performances. His skills include the design and engineering of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. He has been an invited researcher at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy, artist-in-residence at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Japan and has also worked in USA, UK and Malaysia. As well as directing the work of Haque Design + Research he was until 2005 a teacher in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He received the 2008 Design of the Year Award (interactive) from the Design Museum, UK, a 2009 World Technology Award (art), a Wellcome Trust Sciart Award, a grant from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology, the Swiss Creation Prize, Belluard Bollwerk International, the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence prize and the Asia Digital Art Award Grand Prize.
Haque Design + Research specialises in the design and research of interactive architecture systems. Architecture is no longer considered something static and immutable; instead it is seen as dynamic, responsive and conversant. Our projects explore some of this territory. www.haque.co.uk
The presentation of Natural Fuse in Try This At Home is is kindly supported by Eden Gardens.
MAGNIFICENT REVOLUTION AUSTRALIA + JESSICA COUGHLAN
The Bike-power Home Cinema operates by a pedal-powered signal switch – a low-tech gizmo made in the home by combining Grandma’s old Slimline exercise bike and a toy motorised helicopter. The switch ensures the viewer’s commitment to both the viewing experience of the artwork and the energy exchange by necessarily engaging them in the act of stationary pedalling. Originally a component of the installation CAVE by artist Jessica Coughlan, the switch is used in Try This At Home as a viewing apparatus for a short documentary film about CO2PENHAGEN, and presented in conjunction with Magnificent Revolution Australia’s bike-power workshop.
The intention of these activities is to encourage use of renewable forms of
energy. In purely physical terms, energy is the scientific concept that explains the Universe. In economic terms there seems to be nothing else quite so paramount right now. But it has only lately reappeared onto the stage of the
collective conscious of the western world, because so many of our energy
exchanges have been hidden in the elaborate design of domestic technology that have caused us to take power and electricity for granted.
Many Australians are now participating in national schemes to reduce domestic
power consumption, and even produce their own solar power and charge the grid
at a temporarily generous rates of pay, but what about more experimental
alternatives? We can harness our own physical energy output and combine the
mundane tasks of daily ‘constitutional’ exercise and watching the telly, while
we eat vegetables fertilised with our own waste and flush the loo with the
dishwater…. so why don’t we?
Magnificent Revolution Australia (MRA) is a social enterprise established in 2010 to delivery pedal power events, installations and workshops thatdemonstrate the potential for renewable energy in an engaging way. MRA is apartner of the London-based Magnificent Revolution, which has produced over 100 pedal-powered events across the UK and Europe. MRA Director Greer Allen hasjust returned to Australia after completing training onsite with the UK crew,with the vision of putting the word ‘power’ firmly into ‘PeoplePower’. MRA will be running a bike-power workshop as part of Try This AtHome and in February 2012 will create Australia’s first Cycle-In Cinema in Taylor Square as part of Try This At Home’s partner public art programme We Make This City.
Jessica Coughlan is a Newcastle-based installation artist who graduated from the University of Newcastle Honours program in 2007, with a focus ininteractive electronic (lo-fi) work. She has worked in curating positions forthe Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts and Music Festival and the High and DryFestival, programming outdoor sculptural and installation elements with a focuson environmental sustainability. She is currently involved with Magnificent Revolution Australia as a board member and Artist/designer in Residence.
MAKESHIFT 6 Jars is a system for sharing time and resources within micro neighbourhood-based groups, as a viable alternative food source for bottled/packaged goods. The basic philosophy is that all processed foods and most household products can be made from scratch. This means you know exactly what is in it, are directly involved in the process of life by creating what you use, save money and can choose to source ethically, sustainably and locally. It is also easier to make a large quantity of something rather than make all the different things that you use. This is where the 6 jarsethic of sharing comes in: you make one thing and share it with a few houses in your local area and in return you get 5 more jars of other things.Following the establishment of a pilot group in Fairfield and Alphington (Melbourne), Chay-Ya Clancy collaborates with Tessa Zettel to bring the practice to Sydney in the form of a durational social experiment. For Try This At Home, six volunteer households will come together as a collective with a commitment to circulating jars of homemade food orother household goods over the course of the exhibition. Each week the group will meet to exchange jars – everyone going home with a collection of jars filled by other members. Up for negotiation as the project unfolds are decisions about the contents of jars (organic, local, dumpster-dived, vegan?), how and where weekly meetings take place (your place or mine, and is someone cooking?), and what equipment/resources people are willing to share (blenders, ovens, food processers, backyard produce…).
You can participate by attending an introductory session at Object gallery on October 8 (see PARTICIPATE), following the progress of the 6 Jars group online and in the exhibition space, or by starting your own group at home and telling us about it. http://www.6jars.org
Itinerant collective Makeshift collaborates on post-disciplinary projects that imagine or enact other ways of living and seek to generate sustainment, dialogue and new economies. Their five years of redirective practice have encompassed sculpture and installation, drawing, printmaking, writing, live art and design. Informed as much by colonial and scientific memory as what is emerging today, past works have appeared as participatory, site-responsive interventions that make visible contested histories and possible futures. Tessa Zettel is an artist, writer, curator and design educator working towards the broader project of sustainment. Chay-ya Clancy is a revolutionary superhero, often seen with pencils in pocket, apron and picnic basket. Their most recent collaboration was a live lemonade stand for the Sydney launch of Runway: ‘Life’. www.makeshift.com.au & 6jars.blogspot.com
SLOW ART COLLECTIVE
Degavlas is an open-ended project that will develop through its duration; responding to site, installation and processes. Utilising abandoned objects left by local residents for council pick-up, Degavlasfosters the practice of re-using and recycling. Through a series of field trips, walks or forages around the vicinity of the Surry Hills Object Gallery; Sydney’s inner-city streets and laneways – from Darlinghurst to Redfern – will become the initial sites of investigation and engagement.
From these eclectic collecting trips, SAC aims to create a moving body of work from gleaning and gleaners alike. SAC will document the hidden world of fellow jumble scouts, who also collect and re-purpose discarded items. Degavlas will map and track these urban journeys through processes of documentation; which will subsequently be installed at Object Gallery.
Slow Art Collective (SAC) is an interdisciplinary artist group who focus on creative practices and ethics relating to production and consumption, environmental sustainability, DIY culture, and collaborative practice. As a collective, Tony Adams, Chaco Kato, and Dylan Martorell are interested in a process-driven practice where the focus is on the act of making. These principles align with the broader ‘slow movement’ with its attention to strengthening connections to place and people and the notion of expanding time itself. They intertwine art, architecture, music and environmentalism to explore critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and their output takes the shape of more ephemeral forms of expression such as site-responsive installation and performance as well as physical interventions in built structures. Collaboration is intrinsic to all facets of their work, and since 2009 SAC have undertaken a range of projects that use the process of collecting to address the crossovers between artistic practice, creative sustainability and individual responsibility. Recent projects include Shelter @ McDonald’s Drivethrough (satellite project of MisDesign), Brunswick Project at Counihan Gallery, Watershed: Mapping the Yarra 2010 and TS2: Mooney Valley Transfer Station 2009.