For her project, Tiffany Holmes creates an installation of salvaged lamps that are plugged into one of seven different electrical circuits in the McCormick Gallery. Visitors are encouraged to turn the lamps on and off, and the resulting energy usage is dynamically monitored and presented as an animation on a plasma screen mounted on a gallery wall. This real-time animation visually reflects the shifts in the energy consumption of the lamps as they are illuminated or switched off. Through this simple means, Holmes structures a visually rich environment in which the visitor may conceptualize the often difficult-to-grasp issue of an individual’s energy use. The visitor hopefully rethinks the environmental and economic impact of his or her decisions and perhaps even behaves differently.
Tiffany Holmes is an associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Department of Art and Technology, where she teaches courses in interactivity, environmental art, and the history of electronic media.