UNSW Climate Change Festival 2015

LIGHTS

UNSW Climate Change Festival | Thursday 29 Oct 2015
@ Michael Crouch Innovation Centre, UNSW

‘Your 2 degrees’ is a sculptural exhibit bringing together the disciplines of engineering, art and design. We will present a local and experiential spin on the conventional engineering practices of modelling and visualisation. This exhibit is the first project arising from a joint-venture to facilitate the exchange of ideas between traditionally disparate bodies of knowledge to create and implement practical, locally-applicable solutions for a sustainable Sydney.

Who

A collaboration between UNSW Art & Design Masters student Alex Byrne and sustainable transport researchers Melissa Duell and Charlotte Wang from the Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI).

We also appreciate the aid of the following UNSW students, who worked tirelessly to help us create the installation:

  • Anna Russell (BFA, National Arts School), Master of Fine Arts (Printmaking) @ UNSW Art & Design
  • Robin Au, Mechatronics Engineering @ UNSW Faculty of Engineering
  • Hoang Anh Tu, Chemical Engineering @ UNSW Faculty of Engineering
  • Yi Cao, Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) @ UNSW Art & Design

Rationale

The transport sector accounts for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions in Australia (Dept. of Environment, 2015), and driving a car releases, besides greenhouse gasses, particulates whose effects have received less attention thus far. On a personal level, we also know that Sydney experiences heavy car-use, urban sprawl and congestion, which ultimately impedes our accessibility, quality of life and environmental footprint.

Artists’ Statement

At the central and UNSW ends we have the official ‘report’ of our local (UNSW) travel emissions study – a comparison of Greenhouse Gas emissions via public and private modes describing:

  1. At the ‘Central’ end: from a suburban train station to Central Station
  2. Along the route: from Central to UNSW along the 895 express bus route
  3. At the ‘UNSW’ end: from local suburbs to UNSW

We have sneaked in some ‘personal’ signs among our official study results. Juxtaposed amongst the exact, numerical and precise quantitative signs, these qualitative signs are a startling reminder of the reason why we travel in the first place and how we experience the transportation systems we create and develop.

On the 895 route we let the audience travel with us along the calculation/engineering process, revealing the density of our assumptions, questions and unknowns – these chaotic signposts give a glimpse of the complexity that engineers must try to organise, quantify and ultimately take action from. There are also opportunities for the audience to participate by leaving their notes on the issues.

Choice of white or clear signs comment on what’s visible (to a user of our transportation system) and what’s not, what’s seen (by the public) and what’s not, what’s quantified (e.g. Co2-e, particulates, personal costs) and what’s not. The results of the study are on white signs, quantified, we make choices as a society from these because they are definite and easily transferable into our other systems (e.g. economy). What appears on clear signs mark our uncertainty, what we cannot encapsulate into a report for a client or maybe what we don’t want to see.

Related Projects

Alex

More on the Climate Change Festival

The Climate Change Festival at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre is brought to you as part of the UNSW Grand Climate Challenge, a series of events and activities that lead up to COP21 (The Paris Climate Change Conference) in November, where the world will ask; can we keep global warming below 2°C?

CCF