Dane Watkins has been artist in residence at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) since November 2009. In that time he has developed Electric Footprint, a series of artworks that visualise household electricity consumption.
Electric Footprint is concerned with the medium, that is material nature of the internet and how it is constructed from code and databases. Electric Footprint is an artistic exploration of these current technologies (php, mysql) and how they can be creatively and artistically developed. The internet is often seen as a commercial medium more suited to functional websites, in the way that previous artists have played with industrial practises to make art Dane attempts to create art works from these everyday materials on the world wide web.
Electric Footprint can also be seen as socially engaged art as it offers a critical and analytical interpretation of energy consumption which benefits the local community and enables them to understand how much they are spending on electricity.
Survey as Art
The work above shows the results of the Electric Footprint survey "If your house were a shoe, what type of shoe would it be?" From the results most people think their house is like a trainer. Click inside the drop down menu in the top right hand corner of the animation to see the results of the different questions.
Dane was the lead artist on the Whose Data? project which explored new and innovative ways in which 'live' data can be represented to benefit local people. The four artists working with KWMC on Whose Data? were Julie Myers, Susanne Stahl, Paul Hurley and Richard Layzell.
Dane has also worked with the KWMC team on developing live data projects that utilise google maps, flickr and twitter. The goal of these projects is for Knowle West to create a dynamic online presence that represents the concerns of the local community. These tools will empower the local community with up to date information and enable them to express their concerns and creativity to a wider audience.
Dane Watkins' work at KWMC is inspired by the belief that open knowledge is a benefit to both those who govern and those who are governed
The open knowledge foundation expresses these aspirations in their vision "We seek a world in which open knowledge is ubiquitous and routine. We promote open knowledge because of its potential to deliver far-reaching societal benefits."
next: Electric Footprint: Household Info Profiler