Energy and Co-Designing Communities (ECDC) and the Energy Babble

A Review

Linna Griffin

The Energy and Co-Designing Communities (ECDC) project is a program aimed at educating the public about energy consumption and waste and create a national dialogue about the subject. In this way, the ECDC is an exploration into how the UK can reduce their energy consumption by 80%. To accomplish this, Goldsmiths took it upon themselves to conduct research into the community using a variety of methods including the use of Twitter bots used to analyze the latest trends within the Twitter-sphere. There was also the gathering of information through fieldtrips, workshops, and the distribution of cultural probe packs. The scope of the research was vast and detailed, but what I still don’t understand is why, if the product’s success depends on a community dialogue of sorts, does the Energy Babble only allow for a one-way communication with the rest of the community.

Another community-building project in the gallery, #oniriaclimactic, does so through a shared message of makeup as a form of retaliation to societal oppression. Pictures of these forms of makeup are then shared on Instagram, making the contributions by the community visible and presenting them on a platform that allow contributions to be revisited. This format allows for an overarching dialogue to take place.

When put in contrast to this project, the ECDC does not provide a sustainable dialogue by virtue of how the Energy Babble projects information. While the nature of the ECDC project was exploratory and meant to assemble data for a larger question of how the UK can change their energy expenditure, this solution seems overly optimistic about how communities are formed. Therefore, I question how effective this project can be if the community dialogue around energy expenditure is limited so much.

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