Recent Projects

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Far too often, in our own lab as in labs we visit, we leave computers on for hours if not days. We made screen savers attractive and interesting so that we would want to keep watching them. "Turn me off" is a screen saver that reminds you that the best thing to do with an unused computer is to turn it off.

File Download Coming Soon.

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What is the Eco-Vis Challenge? Not only is there an environmental crisis, but an environmental data crisis. Viewing statistics on environmental change is usually overwhelming, unintelligible, hidden and dense. Eyebeam invited artists to collaborate with technologists to redefine what the future of tracking and visualizing the environment could be.

In September 2007, Eyebeam launched the Eco-Vis Challenge, a two-part juried competition to raise environmental awareness through creative data visualization projects. Competition entry opened on Saturday, September 15, in conjunction with an Eyebeam panel discussion on information graphics and social change, as part of the annual Conflux Festival in Brooklyn.

For the panel, artists Michael Mandiberg, Brooke Singer and Eve Mosher joined Eyebeam Executive Director Amanda McDonald Crowley and Tiffany Holmes, Associate Professor of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to discuss issues ranging from charting energy consumption and carbon emission levels, to communicating air and water quality in clear and compelling ways.

Students and professionals from diverse fields and backgrounds - artists, scientists, designers, computer programmers, architects and engineers - took part in the competition. Winning projects were awarded cash prizes and were included in FEEDBACK, Eyebeam’s exhibition focusing on environmental and sustainability issues.

The juried competition was subdivided into two categories: Eco-Vis Challenge #1: Eco-Icons and Eco-Vis Challenge #2: Eco-Visualization. For Challenge #1, participants were asked to create graphics and/or icons that could be used to symbolize or otherwise communicate environmental concerns. Thematically, these icons were expected to engage the politics of information and the persuasion of graphics.

Challenge #2 was to create an eco-visualization based on at least one set of ecological impact data. Projects employing unconventional means data-representation, such as social sculpture, were welcome alongside more traditional forms of data visualization, such as charts and graphs.

On November 8, 2007, Eyebeam hosted a public critique for the Eco-Vis Challenge submissions as part of the Upgrade! series of public programming. A distinguished panel of New York-based artists and designers discussed what role an art and technology center can play in raising public awareness on environmental issues, and how visualizing environmental data can address the crisis. The guest critics not only dicussed their criteria for a useful, engaging, and successful visualization project, but were available to give in-depth FEEDBACK to the Eco-Vis Challenge participants. Panelists included: Michael Mandiberg, Natalie Jeremijemko, Zach Lieberman, and Upgrade! member Mushon Zer-Aviv.

At a public reception at Eyebeam Saturday, December 15, 2007, Executive Director Amanda McDonald Crowley announced the winners of the Eco-Vis Challenge. Oz Etzioni’s Unrecyclable Icon was awarded a $2000 grand prize in the Eco-Icons category, and the Studio for Urban Projects’ In Popular Terms, the Evolving Language of Ecology was awarded a $2000 grand prize in the Eco-Visualization category.

Two proposals in each category received Honorable Mentions and prize money of $150 each, also earmarked for realization of the projects in conjunction with the FEEDBACK exhibition. For Eco-Icons, Green Map was recognized for “creating a comprehensive and inspiring visual system and vocabulary,” and Forays project Edible Excess for “the practical application and smart design of an Eco-Icon.” In the Eco-Visualization category, Annina Rüst’s e-RiceCooker was named “a wonderful and novel concept for social conviviality and structured participation,” and Timm Kekeritz’s Virtual Water and Water Footprints project was recognized for its “clarity, visual literacy and fluency of design.”

The Eco-Vis Challenge solicited proposals on increasing environmental awareness through creative data interpretation over the course of a four-month period in Fall 2007, and the winners were chosen from a field of 139 proposals. The competition was juried by engineer and techno-artist Natalie Jeremijenko, mathematician Martin Wattenberg, a researcher at IBM whose work focuses on visual explorations of culturally significant data, Joey Roth, an industrial designer and writer for TreeHugger.com, Casey Caplowe, creative director of GOOD Magazine, Elizabeth Thompson, executive director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, Eyebeam Alums Michael Mandiberg, and Brooke Singer, with Eyebeam’s Amanda McDonald Crowley and Paul Amitai moderating.

The winning and honored proposals were on display at Eyebeam in January 2008 as a preview for the March 13 – April 19 FEEDBACK exhibition, which featured the realized proposals alongside work by past and current Eyebeam artists, with others. Both events were part of Eyebeam’s ongoing Beyond Light Bulbs programming series, which grew from the conversations and findings of Eyebeam’s Sustainability Research Group. The Eco-Vis Challenge was conceived by Eyebeam program and events coordinator Paul Amitai and crafted by Research Group members Michael Mandiberg a 2007-08 Fellow in the R&D OpenLab and Brooke Singer, an Eyebeam alum.

The Eyebeam Sustainability Research Group began in July 2006 as a forum for past and present residents, fellows, and staff to engage in a critical dialogue about environmental sustainability. The group’s monthly meetings have covered a range of issues, from sharing creative research to working on practical ways to “green” the Eyebeam facility. Out of these meetings, a number of public programs and exhibitions have been developed, including the Eco-Vis Design Challenge, the upcoming Eyebeam exhibition FEEDBACK, and the ambitious 2007-8 program series, Beyond Light Bulbs. Among the Sustainability Research Group ReBloggers were: Jennifer Broutin, Carmen Trudell, Brooke Singer, Paul Amitai, Leah Gauthier, Michael Mandiberg and Amanda McDonald Crowley, who have all been contributing content to Eyebeam’s ReBlog website. This content, as well as the online eco-vis projects of Ben Engebreth, Brooke Singer and Michael Mandiberg were on display alongside those of Challenge winners.

Prizes were generously underwritten by Deep Green Living, green consultants for home and business.

Eco-Vis Challenge Finalists

Eco-Icons category
Anthony Cesari - Warning Stickers
Solar One - I <heart> PV
Igo Knezevic - Hazardous Climate logo
Evan Moran - series of eco stickers
Nathan Shedroff - Reveal: A rating system for consumers
Grace Tsai - To Be-Recycle
Lee Winfield - Clothing labels with production locations

Eco-Visualization category
DreamAddictive Labs - Atmopspheric Pollution data vis of anthropogenic contaminants
Earth Pledge and HydroQual - Green Roof Stormwater Simulation Tool
LoVid and Douglas Repetto - Bonding Energy: Electrogeography and data vis around NY state
Erin Williams - Energy Production and Loss
Kiera Ormut-Fleishman - Maintenant: An i-Pod-powered air pollution reader
Marilyn Ostergren - Environmental impact of electricity consumption at U. of Washington
Bart Woodstrup - The Hottest Year on Record: Data from Global Mean Temperature Anomalies

Related Programs 2008
January 5 – 26 Eco-Vis Challenge Preview
January 26, 4-6PM Sustainable Project Review and Closing Reception
March 13 – April 26 FEEDBACK Exhibition

Photos of Eco-Vis Challenge winners.

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Due in good part to industrial agricultural practices, which rely on monocultures, chemical fertilizers and genetic modification to reap a predictable product, over 70% of our crop biodiversity was lostin the 20th century. Genetic erosion puts our food supply at risk from epidemics and infestations, which a more multifarious mix would guard against. To keep them from extinction, plants must be grown. During Sow-in, the general public, along with community gardening groups, will make seedling pots out of recycled materials and sow seeds of food plants on Slow Food's most endangered foods list and the Ark of Taste.

Together, we will distribute 100's of seed pots to community gardeners across New York City for transplant, care, harvest, and seed saving. Our focus plants are Chapalote Corn, Chiltepin Pepper, Native American Sunflower and Seminole Pumpkin, Beaverdam Pepper, Fish Pepper, Algonquian Squash, Boston Marrow Squash, Amish Paste Tomato, German Pink Tomato, Orange Oxheart Tomato, and Moon & Stars Watermelon.

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We aim to develop an open model for self-organised “Clip Kino”: micro-cinema, which consists of content downloaded from P2P file-sharing online networks, and popular media sharing platforms.

The ambition is to organise events which drag aspects of the normalized ‘private’ activity of viewing downloaded content into public space for screening, appreciation and debate. The term ‘environmental awareness’ aims to include the social ecology of one’s interests, desires, and attentions in one’s peer-group and community.

Workshop sessions will explore creative file-sharing together in physical-material space, and extrapolate copyright left issues in youth/subcultural terms. Face-to-face facilitation is crucial here, while critical education of IP and public-private space issues is important. ‘Seeder’s N Leecher’s R US’ is intended as a statement of pride and empowerment.

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Eyebeam and the UK’s MediaShed a free-media community center in Southend by the Sea, have been working closely on the development of Gearbox, an open-source, online media-making toolkit. On February 2, Eyebeam's Student Residents, Senior Fellows and staff will travel to Southend by the Sea for six days to meet, share practices, and develop collaborative projects using Gearbox. MediaShed youth will travel to NYC on February 12 complete the projects and install them in Eyebeam’s galleries.

This exchange will culminate in an all-day Free Media Workshop on February 16, which will focus on the use of “free-cycled” materials to create new and innovative forms of public infrastructure. Eyebeam and MediaShed participants, together with workshop participants, will present their projects and discuss the idea and application of “free media”. The event will close with public reception celebrating the exchange.

Gearbox was developed by Jeff Crouse, Chris Sugrue, Evan Harper and Geraldine Juárez in the Production Lab for Mediashed.

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Earthify takes a page of Craigslist posts and maps them on Google Earth.
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The Power Cart is a mobile unit that delivers alternative power to people in the streets.

In most parts of the world, the street is a place where social interactions abound, commerce rules, and street vendors around the globe bring to local populations the things they need right at their door steps. Knife sharpening in India, refills of gas in Africa, fake Gucci bags in Paris and chair massages in New York, the Power Cart takes an old idea from yesterday’s streets and adapts it to serve the needs of today’s urban dwellers. Need a charge on your cell phone? Your laptop is about to die and you really need to check that email? Or maybe there is no power around you at all? Where ever you might be in the world, hail the Power Cart for a quick fix.

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A handmade jewelry piece designed and created by Mouna Andraos and Sonali Sridhar. When you first acquire the pendant, you select a place that you consider to be your anchor where you were born, your home, or perhaps the place you long to be. Once the jewelry is initialized, every time you wear the piece it displays how many miles away from that location you are using a GPS component built into the pendant. As you take Address around the world with you, it serves as a personal connection to that special place, making the world a little smaller or maybe a little bigger.

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Growing wiki space dedicated to all things hand-made and electronics. Included research on solar powering small devices and electronic jewelry making.

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DIY version of the flashlight powered by shaking it. (instruction set in progress)