Thingness of Energy: Opening Reception
01.25.2012, 3:59 pm
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detail, Scales of Light and Heat (Humans = Watt?) Convert Yourself (Thingness of Energy), Jamie Kruse 2011-2
One British Thermal Unit (BTU), a unit of energy, is equivalent to one burning match.
In 2011 The New School consumed 14 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equivalent to approximately 48 billion burning matches.

After six months of research and production, a project by smudge studio’s Jamie Kruse, entitled the Thingness of Energy, opens next Thursday, February 2, 2012.  smudge invites you to the opening reception at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons The New School for Design, from 6:30-9:00pm.  The exhibition Where Do We Migrate To?curated by Niels Van Tomme, opens this same evening in the nearby Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery.

The Thingness of Energy invites audiences to consider and directly experience the material realities of energy.  Taking The New School’s Climate Action Plan (PDF) as its point of departure, the project reveals the deep geologic nature and effects of the materials that are used to generate and transmit electricity. It also underscores the power of deep time—both past and future—as a generator of energy forms and effects.  The installation brings into view things of energy that exist both within the walls of The New School and arrive at the University from far beyond the borders of New York State.

At its heart, Thingness of Energy poses the question: What if “anticipating geologic scales of force, change, and effect” became a common design specification for energy production, policies, and infrastructure design?

The project is composed of five boxes: Distributed MatterEnergy of Deep TimeScales of Light and Heat (Humans = Watt?) Convert YourselfCarbon Trading Across the Eons, and Vibrant Matter and the Power of Configuration. The boxes, accompanied by three large vinyl window installations, offer motivations for interacting with things of energy in new ways that take into account the realities of their material natures.  A “material bibliography” provides reading material and source documentation for the research that supported the project’s development.

The project will be on exhibit until April 24, 2012.

For gallery hours, to learn more about the project and upcoming programming visit the Vera List Center for Art and Politics’ artist project page and the smudge studio project page.


The Thingness of Energy is produced in collaboration with The New School’s Office of Sustainability, Facilities Management; the Sheila Johnson Designer Center; and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. The project is supported in part by The New School’s Green Fund for 2012 and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, and presented on occasion of the Center’s 2011-2013 focus theme “Thingness.

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