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This month,in collaboration withSprout & Co.,we feature a dinner andpresentation with artist Deb Todd Wheeler, engineer Bec Conrad, andscientist Michael Nagle who have collaborated to design an platform to make visible the level of energy use in any given community.

FireCallBox Project aka Chromatic Scale for Citywide Energy Use

Bec Conrad, Michael Nagle and Deb Todd Wheeler

Spaghetti Dinner

Spout & Co.

339 Summer Street

Somerville, MA

(space is located at the end of thedriveway)

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FireCallBox Prototype
At this month's Sprout Spaghetti Dinner, the FireCallBox team will present their work in progress, exploring visual representations of energy data.

Born at a brainstorming session at the
Climate Culture: Art, Action, Climate Changesymposium at the Massachusetts College of Art in 2012, the
FireCallBox Projecthas evolved from an idea of simple data visualization (linking live energy data in the neighborhoods of Boston with visual chromatic scale representation in glass orbs on the ubiquitous, but almost obsolete, fire call boxes), to a potential platform for communities to represent their energy usage and harness local creativity. In this public presentation, theFireCallBoxteam will discuss the wild and rambling history of the project to date, from meetings at the headquarters of the Boston Fire Department, to NSTAR, to the City of Boston's Department of New Urban Mechanics to finally landing at welcoming Brandeis University, whose Facilities Department made the making of the final proof-of-concept prototypes possible. Moving away from the public sphere, where issues of privacy (among other things)impeded the access to information, to a private University setting, where buildings and their subsequent data are underconstant overt surveillance, shifted the focus away from question of how to obtain theinformation, towards the more ponderous question of what to do with the information once it was obtained.
In its lab at Brandeis, the FireCallBox team conducted an ongoing series of visual experiments withshifting University data in an effort to connect aesthetic experience with the desire for less instead of more. These experiments resulted in sculptural objects that bore witness to a pulsing, shifting, expanding and contracting stream of electricity which the team will show in video form at the presentation.

  1. FireCallBoxislarge collaboration, involving the generous Facilities Department staff of Brandeis; the engineers at Siemens ("the trusted technology partner for energy-efficient, safe and secure buildings"), Eliot Kristan, and a team of students -- Olivia Leiter, Livia Bell, Sisana Farley and Daniel Stern. This stage of project development wassupported by Artists in Context with funding from the Barr Foundation.