Surplus-Power Art

As an add-on to our solar-powered Mastodon server , we plan to build a tool that creates generative artworks using local weather data. This tool will be made with a pen plotter and programmed to activate only during periods of surplus solar energy production (when more electricity is produced than the battery can store). These periods of momentary abundance are currently underutilized in solar energy systems, though many climate futures presume a variety of industrial use cases for this surplus power. We anticipate that, through art exchanges and public demonstrations, the artwork produced by the tool will be given away as it runs. We hope that this will both aid in knowledge dissemination about the project and stage public encounters with the intermittent ‘gift economies’ of solar power. Through the work of constructing the device, as well as the public comments it generates, we will gain valuable insights into the sociotechnical dynamics that characterize 100% renewable energy futures.