Carbon is perhaps the most political compound on the planet, yet like data, it is invisible. Its consequences are clearly visible today and our governance is vital for transforming sustainable living practices in response to the Climate Crisis, COP26, Terra Carta and the IPCC targets proposed by the United Nations 2030 agenda. Compiling historical records from military to education, outer space to domestic space, the very first Barometer to the modern home Smart Meter, the methods in which we compile carbon and environmental data are becoming ever more personal. Despite this shift into the private realm, the apparatus and technology remain inaccessible to most people. Exploring the research by Paul Edwards concerning climate knowledge infrastructure 1 and by Jennifer Gabrys in relation to sensing practices 2, the project aims to unveil an alternative approach in compiling carbon as an ongoing archiving tool for recording impact, knowledge and value which becomes the ethical tension point between the personal and the global scales. It looks at how compiling carbon data might be reimagined by advancing technology for compiling carbon within the Internet of Things, Smart Home Devices and Sensor Technologies. The ongoing act of compiling carbon can be explored through new forms of media representations and may become more personal, visible and actionable. This makes the potential of personal scale data interaction greater and more accessible during existing conditions of isolation.

Conceived as a video format, the project begins with a personal documentation of compiling carbon to move to a larger scale infrastructure of digital twins of UK local authorities and companies as a final comparison matrix. Structured as a series of five timelines, each exploring carbon compiling at five different scales and aims, it ultimately contrasts the distance created between the climate apparatus from 1:1 to 1:10000. The project further explores the data ethics and historical governance of compiling carbon, footprinting and offsetting as an ongoing transboundary project between apparatus, bodies and their environments. By unveiling the interconnected network of actors, it aims to reflect on both the personal and global responsibilities of compiling carbon in the present to speculate on the future governance of compiling carbon.

  1. Edwards, Paul. 2013. A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming. Cambridge: MIT Press. 

  2. Gabrys, Jennifer. 2016. Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.