The exhibition’s title, FEEDBACK, refers to the self-correcting mechanisms by which systems—in this case, ecological—respond to the influence they exert on their environments. The works on display echoed this recursive dynamic, from Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley’s DrinkPeeDrinkDrinkPee sewage processing organ, to Natalie Jeremijenko’s tadpole-dispensing prescription from the walk-in Environmental Health Clinic for the ecologically unwell. In direct response to the world’s loss of crop biodiversity Leah Gauthier’s Sow-In engaged the public, in partnership with local community gardening groups, to sow the seeds of those food plants most in danger of extinction.
Numerous projects in the exhibition addressed energy consumption, production and harvesting: A visitor entered the exhibition through Fluxxlab’s Revolution Door, a modified revolving door that harnesses and redistributes human energy. Mouna Andraos’ The Power Cart is a mobile unit that delivers alternative power to people on the street, and Jeff Feddersen’s installation The Off-Grid Outlet is a solar-powered AC outlet and 12V DC power port destined for the Brooklyn restaurant Cafe Habana. Building on existing urban infrastructure, Andrea Polli’s Queensbridge Wind Power Project investigates how clean, renewable wind power might be integrated into the landmark architecture of the Queensboro Bridge.
FEEDBACK also featured the winners of the Eco-Vis Challenge, a two-part juried design competition to raise environmental awareness through creative data visualization projects.
A series of short video-documentaries by Jason Jones of the Brooklyn artists’ collective Not An Alternative, commissioned especially for FEEDBACK, documents the making of each of the displayed projects, providing insight into the creative process. These videos were screened in the main gallery, and are now available on Eyebeam’s website.
The exhibition design was by fluxxlab, and the series of paneled displays enclosing an expanse of vibrant green artificial turf in FEEDBACK references an aesthetic of trade shows and science fairs. The suggestive use of donated, recycled and blatantly artificial grass designated a central commons, posing questions without easy answers: Is artificial turf truly eco-unfriendly?
All 19 projects on display in FEEDBACK were designed to enlighten and entertain, challenge and inspire, and ultimately compel viewers to move beyond passive spectatorship. Toward this end, Fred Benenson’s Committeecaller.com, a website application that enables one person to target an entire congressional committee over the phone, was featured in the exhibition. Three telephones for use with CommitteeCaller were available to exhibition visitors in order to make calls on behalf of three local community groups, including SolarOne and Sustainable South Bronx, who provided agendas and talking points for the callers.
Artist-led workshops offered a unique opportunity to brainstorm with FEEDBACK artists and experiment with the methods, tools and strategies on display. The following public programs took place in conjunction with FEEDBACK; all were free and open to the public.
January 26: Open Source Sustainability Critique
March 29: Sustainablity + Architecture panel
People: Amanda McDonald Crowley, Andrea Polli, Annina RÃ¼st, Beatriz da Costa, Brooke Singer, Carmen Trudell, David Benjamin, Eve Mosher, Fluxxlab, Forays, GreenMap System, Jamie Schulte, Jeff Feddersen, Jenny Broutin, Leah Gauthier, Liz Slagus, Michael Mandiberg, Mouna Andraos, Natalie Jeremijenko, Not an Alternative, Oz Etzioni, Paul Amitai, Preemptive Media, Rebecca Bray and Britta Riley, Soo-in Yang, The Living, The Studio for Urban Projects, Timm Kekeritz
Tags: feedback, green, sustainability