You’re moving electrons instead of moving atoms [physically]
By Katla Taylor
According to some estimates, the carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. This is similar to the amount produced by the airline industry globally
. These emissions are predicted to double by 2025 and a Google search uses about the same amount of energy as your body burns in ten seconds.
You’re moving electrons instead of moving atoms [physically] attempts to ground digital activity without losing sight of its generative capacities. Electric energy used to fuel the infrastructure for our most mundane online use is profoundly shaped by data acting as if it were symbolic and immaterial — while in fact being an active agent.
Our interaction with computers has become semi-automated manual labour as physical gestures become ingrained in daily behaviour. In her digital choreography installation, Katla Taylor asks What if the electric energy consumption of semi-automated online gestures are instead transposed as bodily movement?
Previously the tool was the variable and the human being the constant, subsequently the human being became the variable and the machine the constant.
In order to translate online activity into choreography, I looked at personal data from google search, to facebook messages, to instagram activity and attempted to quantify the energy consumption of each activity. I combined this with a research into the various data centres I encountered along the way. I question the impact of our daily online activity and furthermore the repercussion it has on our behaviour.
 Fred Pearce (2018) Energy Hogs: Can world's huge data centers be made more efficient? Available from (YaleEnvironment360): https://e360.yale.edu/features/energy-hogs-can-huge-data-centers-be-made-more-efficient
 Internet Health Report (April 2018) The Internet uses more electricity than..
 Annet Dekker (2017) Lecture lost and living (in) arquives: Collectively shaping New Memories.
 Karen Barad (2014) Re-membering the Future, Re(con)figuring the Past — Temporality, Materiality, and Justice-to-Come.
 Vibeke Mascini (2020) Instarring.
Available from: https://faultlines.online/vibeke-mascini/
 Silvio Lorusso (2021) The user condition: computer agency and behavior.
Available from : https://theusercondition.computer/
 Vilem Flusser (1983) Towards a philosophy of photography.
In order to investigate the energy consumption of online activity I research and gathered a list of data centers I might be interacting with while browsing the net. For a deeper individual analysis I then took my own case and translated the data to an online day.
Data centers→Google search→Facebook (messenger)→Computer behaviour→Phone behaviour
Data centres data focusing on google and facebook
Prototypes & Experiments
I explored alternative physical movement in order to translate the "active agent" behind the screen and the gestures of Man-Computer interactions.
In fact, with and within networked computers, users perform all three kinds of activity identified by Arendt: they perform repetitive labor, they fabricate things, and, potentially, they act, that is, they produce new beginnings by escaping prescribed paths, by creating new ones, by not doing what they are expected to or what they’ve always been doing.
You’re moving electrons instead of moving atoms [physically] is an interactive installation composed of a video and a platform designed with vinyl stickers in order for the viewer to perform a series of choreographies. In order to investigate the energy consumption of online activity I researched and collated a list of data centers I might be interacting with while browsing the net. For a deeper individual analysis I then took my own case and translated the data to an online day.