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“CIRCUIT BREAKER” – MAA-Tila Gallery – Opening 21 May 2019

Samir Bhowmik presents a new work as part of the 2019 Pixelache Festival, the project Circuit Breaker will be presented in the MAA-tila space in Sornainen, Helsinki – opening 21 May 2019 at 18.00.
The Circuit Breaker is a networked participated installation that critiques the culture of constant connectivity. It is complemented by a photo exhibition by the artist about energy, fossil fuels, and energetic landscapes of Helsinki. The installation takes the form of a customized panel of indicator lamps, ‘coal’- meters, and micro-controllers overlooking a distributed network of online participants. Network connectivity is dependent on a set of algorithmic variables that include bandwidth usage, power consumption, browsing analytics, location and terrain. These together will form a model of online behavior, similar to ‘Load Factor’ a concept of diversity of use and geography used in electrical power systems. Online participants will have to balance ‘Load Factor’ to maintain constant connectivity. If ideal harmony in diversity is not maintained and network load not balanced by the networked community, it would result in circuit disruption and participants will be blocked out of the network. 

Forthcoming in Communications + 1 Journal Vol. 7 (2) (Open Humanities Press): The Battery is the Message: Media Archaeology as an Energy Art Practice


When media start to explode in your hands, it deserves a description. When it causes airplane evacuations, general panic and hysteria, it warrants an examination. When it quietly dies in your pocket before the end of an eight hour work day just like the other two billion smartphones, it deserves an explanation. It is reasonable to believe that a ‘Thermal Runaway’ event is far more spectacular than a quiet smartphone death. Leakages take place, fire and toxic chemicals are involved, possibly leading to personal bodily injury. It can be traumatic. Thermal Runaway is today one of the prime modes of battery failure. Chemical reactions within raise its internal temperature, and if not dissipated, the temperature keeps rising that will further accelerate the reactions causing even more heat to be produced, eventually resulting in an explosion. Especially a Lithum-ion cell above a certain temperature, its internal chemical reactions out of control, will explode.



NOTE: The thoughts in the following article came about during the Community Power Bank(CPB) workshops at Pixelache Helsinki in 2015–16.The project recycled Lithium 18650 batteries with community participation and re- purposed them to build power banks for handheld media devices. The workshops were conducted at the Museum of Photography and at the OSCE (Open Source Circular Economy) Days in Helsinki, Finland. All acknowledgements are due to the participants and colleagues in this project. For more information see: