[ISEA2022] Paper: Caterina Antonopoulou — eCO2system: exploring the environmental and social impact of the internet’s materiality through a data-driven media art installation


Short paper, theme: Natures and Worlds: Ecosystems and hibryd agencies
Venue: CCCB, date: June 15

Keywords: internet’s materiality, Internet of Things (IoT), media art installation, social media platforms, climate change

The internet’s materiality often lacks attention in recent controversies surrounding the environmental footprint of physical versus online activity. The operation of the internet presupposes a physical infrastructure that consumes natural resources and generates pollution. The obfuscation of the materiality of the internet conceals power asymmetries produced by the uneven access to the control of the internet’s material infrastructure.

This paper investigates the social and environmental impact of the internet’s materiality through the data-driven, media art installation eCO2system. The installation consists of an aquarium which is connected to the Internet of Things and contains a small-scale ecosystem of fish. The technologically augmented aquarium retrieves data from a social media platform and detects digital activity promoting climate change awareness. The living conditions of the ecosystem deteriorate according to the number of awareness-promoting posts, highlighting the divergence between digital actions and physical consequences.

A complex network of more-than-human agents is articulated around the aquarium, including things, animals, humans, technologies, cultural structures, and other material and immaterial entities. The dynamics of this network impel us to rethink technology as part of a symbiotic whole of heterogeneous agents and to adopt less technocratic and more ethic criteria to redesign, reprogram, (re)use and recycle technologies. https://peqpez.net/2020/04/09/social-thing3

  • Caterina Antonopoulou (a.k.a peqpez) is a media artist, engineer and researcher. She is currently an adjunct lecturer of interactive art at the department of Digital Arts and Cinema of the University of Athens, Greece. Caterina holds a PhD in media art form the University of the Aegean (Greece), a Master’s in Digital Arts from of the Pompeu Fabra University of Barcelona and a diploma in Computer Engineering from the National Technical University of Athens. Her artistic work explores everyday practices and social interactions through a creative, critical and ludic appropriation of technology, while her research investigates the materiality of digital art focusing on critical, socially engaged and tactical media artworks. https://peqpez.net