The Zurich Node of the Planetary Collegium. Institute of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts, Zurich, Switzerland.

Tiffany Holmes

About the Research Eco-visualization: Designing Software and Technology to Promote Sustainability through Resource Conservation

Can media art trigger more ecologically responsible behaviour? In the proposed dissertation, the author will provide a theoretical argument that the philosophy of sustainability, when combined with media art, which visualizes the real time usage of key resources, offers new strategies to improve attitudes toward nature in urban work environments. The author suggests that daily visual feedback from site-based media art can elevate understanding of resource consumption patterns and possibly increase conservation behaviour in resident populations in the workplace. As proof-of-practice, the author will design a dynamic animation to display the amount of kilowatts of electricity being used per minute, hour and day in the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). The author will also track the amount of chilled water and steam used hourly and daily in the NCSA building as these variables add to the overall amount of electricity consumed. This data-driven animation will be sited in the central lobby; the target audience is the NCSA building residents and visitors. A public display offers a new alternative to the remote electricity meters concealed in dark basements or utility closets. Through analysis of practical information collected over the course of eighteen months as well as theoretical research into the psychology of consumption and attitudes toward nature, the author will determine whether data-driven visualizations of resource usage can improve attitudes toward environmental stewardship in the workplace or perhaps even increase the residents’ conservation behaviour. About the Researcher Holmes’ installation work explores the potential of technology to promote positive environmental stewardship. She lectures and exhibits worldwide in these venues: J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Digital Salon ’99, Viper in Switzerland, Next 1.0 in Sweden, Siggraph 2000, World@rt in Denmark, Interaction ’01 in Japan, ISEA Nagoya. A recipient of the Michigan Society of Fellows research fellowship in 1998, Holmes recently earned an Illinois Arts Council individual grant and an Artists-in-Labs residency award in Switzerland. Holmes is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Art and Technology at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she teaches courses in environmental art, interactivity and the history and theory of electronic media. Website