Running Out

March 2016
Raspberry Pi
Salone del Mobile, Milano
The installation Running Out by Graphic Design students Amir Houieh, Gábor Kerekes, and Vera van de Seyp, confronts its audience with the consequences of the rapidly increasing electricity consumption. In their research, the students address one of the biggest challenge of the 21st century: the global dependecy on electricity.

The work is centered around a dismantled computer screen that displays the CO2 emissions generated by the device itself and a countdown revealing the days left until the world runs out of natural resources (numbers based on projections published at COP21).

In fall 2015, the Climate Change Conference took place in Paris. Delegates of all United Nations member countries met to discuss urgent arrangement in relation of climate change. Their discussion resulted in the Paris Agreement that made 196 countries agree upon changing national and international policies for the sake of keeping the damage for the climate as low as possible.

If the average temperature in the world rises above 2ºC, the damage to the environment is unstoppable and the climate will grow into a vicious circle leading to a rapidly increasing amount of natural disasters. Right now, the average temperature rise is already at 1.5ºC and rising steadily. The largest contribution to this increase is the burning of fossil fuels to generate electrical energy.

About a third of the carbon emissions that are generated is created in a domestic environment. This means that all of us contribute with our daily habits. The interfaces through which people get in contact with their energy consumption leaves out all context: the carbon emissions generated by the device, in the home, but also the bigger context. The global change isn’t visible in the home and the time that is left before the 2ºC temperature elevation is crossed partially because of these daily domestic useages.

With their project, Houieh, Kerekes and Van de Seyp aim to lay bare how common energy interfaces seem to deliberately cover the urgency of the global energy crisis.

Pictures by Sem Langendijk and Roel Backaert.