Created by Julian Oliver and commissioned by the Konstmuseet i Skövde, HARVEST is a work of critical engineering and computational climate art. It uses wind-energy to mine cryptocurrency, the earnings of which are used as a source of funding for climate-change research.
The project takes the form of a 2m wind turbine with environmental sensors, weatherproof computer and 4G uplink, HARVEST ‘feeds’ from two primary symptoms of our changing climate: wind gusts and storms. It does this by transforming wind energy into the electricity required to meet the demanding task of mining cryptocurrency (here Zcash), a decentralised process where computers are financially rewarded for their work maintaining and verifying a public transaction ledger known as the blockchain. Rather than making money for the artist, the rewards are paid out as donations to non-profit climate change research organisations such that they can better study this planetary-scale challenge.
Julian Oliver’s latest hardware provocation is a fake cellular tower masquerading as an HP laserjet printer. The device evokes ubiquitous ‘StingRay’ surveillance technology and the real (fake) cell towers that pepper urban landscape.