NATURAL FUSE

The London-based architect and artist Usman Haque designs interactive architectural systems and is interested in the ways that people relate to each other and to their surrounding space. He develops responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and mass-participation performances.

Architecture has traditionally been understood as physical, static objects that make up our environments, like walls, roofs and floors. Haque proposes that Architecture could be conceived as an "operating system" that includes sounds, smells, heat, colors and even radio-waves. By broadening the concept of Architecture Haque is concerned with all phenomena surrounding us and he is addressing ecological problems as well as social issues.

His work “Natural Fuse” is built on what is known as prisoner's dilemma in game theory. The project is as much about the structures of participation as it is about energy conservation: The carbon footprint of the power used to run the electronic products that populate our lives can be offset by the natural carbon-capturing processes that occur as plants absorb carbon dioxide and grow. These are the natural conditions of this experiment: "Natural Fuse".

Each Natural Fuse unit consists of a houseplant and a power socket. The amount of power available to the socket is limited by the capacity of the plant to offset the carbon footprint of the energy expended. The problem is that even low-power light bulbs draw more power than can be comfortably offset by a single plant. Therefore, multiple units are connected via the internet so that they can communicate and determine how much excess capacity of carbon-offsetting is available within the community of units as a whole.

Rather than just having an "on/off" switch for the appliance, the units are provided with a "selfless/selfish" switch. If "selfless" is chosen then the unit will provide only enough power that won't harm the community's carbon footprint. But, if the carbon sequestering capacity of the community is currently low, the electricity may switch off after a few seconds. "selfish" on the other hand is providing as much energy as needed, regardless of the community's carbon footprint. In case of an overload the Natural Fuse system will KILL SOMEBODY ELSE'S PLANT!

Each unit actually has 3 'lives' to lose, before which a vinegar shot is dispensed to the unlucky plant. So as it loses each 'life' an email is sent both to the owner and the owner that sent a 'kill' signal; this provides the capability to communicate and explain situations to each other prior to the final execution of the plant.


To see more go to www.haque.co.uk © Copyright



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