UVA Arts, University of Virginia

Vol 02 Spring 15 Library
John Park
Arts Libraries

#Carbonfeed: Social Media Carbon Footprints


to your own Twitter feed!

A fascinating new media installation at four libraries across Grounds last fall explored the line between the virtual and real worlds, and used innovative new methods to show how carbon footprints are left online. #Carbonfeed, created by OpenGroundsArt & Environmental Action Scholar Jon Bellona and visual artist John Park (University of Oregon), used sonic visualization to convert real-time tweets into music, and illustrated their environmental impact by releasing each tweet’s carbon equivalent into water-filled cylinders. The primary #Carbonfeed installation was displayed from August 29 to September 26 in the Music Library, with supplemental installations in the Science, Clemons and Fine Arts Libraries. As more and more people migrate online for social and business interactions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels, Bellona believes that quantifying the effects of digital content is more important than ever. A single tweet is estimated to generate 0.02 grams of CO2. (Bellona, David. Weighing the Cloud.) In addition to these “virtual” footprints and their
impacts on the real world, Bellona pointed out how online media growth has fueled an increased dependence on data centers which now account for 2% of electricity consumption in the United States that is fueled by online media growth.

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