2023 progress pushing towards some exciting things in 2024.
Hi, I’m Kurt Roembke. I’m an employee here at Dirt Wain, but also a participant in Dirt Wain’s Compost Lab artist in residency program with my project Compost Your Internet. Early in 2023, I curated an internet art and video game exhibition at Bread and Circus gallery where we highlighted thought provoking digital art in the form of websites and other computer based interactive formats. The exhibition intended to challenge the viewer’s preconceptions of how costly websites can be on the environment, along with presenting more humane approaches to internet hosting and social media design.
While communicating with these artists and interacting with their works, I came up with the idea for Compost Your Internet. Creating a system of solar power computers to measure data from the compost windrows at the Dirt Wain site, and use this to create interactive art online could let people have some fun with compost, but also continue this conversation around designing internet spaces that are less destructive to the environment and the people using them.
In 2023, I purchased everything we needed to make the solar powered computer system that will measure the compost out at the Dirt Wain site with the help from Arts United’s Amplify Art crowd funding program. Putting everything together took months of trial and error, but I got a small version of the system set up in time for 2023’s Eco Fest. At Dirt Wain’s booth, we had two solar powered computers measuring the moisture in different buckets of compost. This data was sent to a simple website that would then adapt that data into musical notes. The test website is still up and you can check it out with the link below.
Now that we’re not measuring new moisture data, the notes are stuck on the last bits of data that we measured there at Eco Fest. The final website will be similar to this, but will allow the user to choose what data is being used from the compost measuring server, and how it affects the music they’re hearing. Here’s a prototype of the more finalized website design.
So, that was 2023. It took a lot longer to make progress than I had initially expected, so I’ve decided to set in place a rigid series of milestones to get things moving more steadily in 2024. Here’s what I have planned:
December 31st: I’ll have the new website online for you to tinker around with. This will use mock data since we won’t be measuring compost data through the winter. The solar powered batteries won’t do so well in the cold.
January 26th: I’ll have a fully assembled solar server which will eventually host the website Compost Your Internet website.
February 16th: The demo website released on December 31st will be fully moved over to the solar powered server.