ENERGY SLAVE TOKENS
[HUMAN LABOR TO FOSSIL FUEL CONVERSION UNITS]
In 1940, Richard Buckminster Fuller introduced the term ‘energy slave’ to describe the energy required to power the modern lifestyle. The concept ‘energy slave’ refers to the technological or mechanical energy equivalent to the physical working capacity of a human adult. The energy requirements for any lifestyle can be calculated as a number of ‘energy slaves’ equivalent to the number of human labourers which otherwise would be needed to produce the same amount of energy. In 2013, it has been estimated that the average European employs the equivalent of 400-500 ‘energy slaves’, 24 hours a day.
The Energy Slave Tokens consists of a series of weights made of bitumen, which are the energy equivalents to specific quantities of physical human labour time, namely 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year and 1 life. This series of weights is designed to present the orders of magnitude that separate the labour power generated by our human bodies from the energy exploited mostly from fossil fuels which powers the technosphere. These open source tokens are designed to be easily replicated, used and distributed without restriction.
Conception: DISNOVATION.ORG, Baruch Gottlieb
Contributors: Clément Gasque, Raphaël Rubbens, Macha Savykine
Production: iMAL (BE)
Coproduction: Biennale Chroniques (FR)
DISNOVATION.ORG is a research collective set up in Paris in 2012, whose core members include Maria Roszkowska (PL), Nicolas Maigret (FR), and Baruch Gottlieb (CA). They work at the interface between contemporary art, research and hacking, and compose tailor-made teams for each investigation together with academics, activists, engineers, and designers. Their recent artistic provocations challenge the widespread faith that ‘economic growth’ and ‘technological fixes’ will solve the ecosystemic disruptions they provoked in the first place, seeking to empower Post Growth imaginaries and practises. They recently co-edited A Bestiary of the Anthropocene with Nicolas Nova, an atlas of anthropic hybrid creatures, and The Pirate Book, an anthology about media piracy. DISNOVATION.ORG’s works have been exhibited, performed, published and reviewed worldwide including at the Centre Pompidou (Paris), transmediale (Berlin), the Museum of Art and Design (New York), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), FILE (Sao Paulo), ZKM (Karlsruhe), Strelka Institute (Moscow), ISEA (Hong Kong), Elektra (Montreal), China Museum of Digital Arts (Beijing), and the Chaos Computer Congress (Hamburg).