Interactive/Generative Audiovisual Installation
TWh (terawatt hours) is a blend of web technologies and art that explores the issue of digital energy usage and its impact on the environment. Inspired by Arthur Ganson's 'Machine With Oil,' the semi web-based piece incorporates an AI-trained library to calculate estimates of energy usage, revealing the amount of energy used for its existence and the carbon emissions produced by the interaction of the viewers. The work aims to encourage viewers to reflect on their digital footprint, Accessible through private digital interfaces of the viewers. TWh is a thought-provoking project that brings attention to the environmental impact of digital energy usage. The digital economy's growth presents significant challenges, requiring innovative solutions to ensure its sustainability while minimizing carbon emissions.
The main functionality of this digital machine is to calculate and estimate the amount of emissions produced in numbers for its existence via a previously trained library by using content delivery networks and AI libraries activated by the interaction of the audiences. The work starts using two words, 'Particle' and 'Nature' as a starting point, sending a request through Google Cloud services, fetched with OpenAI's ChatGPT for generating a new word which is used to generate a 2D noise color pattern in Stable Diffusion.
The core processing part of the artwork is a website that is developed in Next.js, using various Node.js librarios and using APIs to access the ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion. The speed of generating the word and the pattern varies from 0.5 to 3 second based on the location of the presentation of the work because the hosting, Google Firestore Database and other services are located on different continents with long distances. This part of the artwork is housed in a designed pelican case with three touchscreens displaying website pages, showcasing word responses, real-time calculations, and background processes.
The pattern is then converted to a point cloud in Touchdesigner, and forces are applied based on the calculations, resulting in motion images. The artwork's flow depends on the number and duration of interactions, which affects request processing time, emissions, and the words generated by the AI backend. The website constantly calculates and compares these factors, considering all requests and services used for each interaction and provides a comparison to the emissions of a petrol car over a year.
The visuals generated in real-time are reflected in a mirror corridor on a translucent screen, evolving based on AI API responses and processed in Touchdesigner. The pattern is generated from the conversion of a sphere point cloud to a 2D RGB 512 x 512 image which is used as the initial input controlled by a new word generated in ChatGPT from the first two keywords to generate a new pattern in Stable Diffusion. "TWh Web Interface", including live responses, calculations, references, and a control panel, is publicly accessible.
The artwork was commissioned by New Now Festival (Hyper Natural Forces) and exhibited at the Mixing Plant in the Zollverein, an industrial coal mine complex and UNESCO heritage site in Essen, Germany, from June to August 2023.