30 November 2009
Press Release
Note No. 6233

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

Digital Art Cube Helps People Visualize Their Carbon Dioxide Footprint


An art exhibit, CO2 CUBES:  Visualize a Tonne of Change, will be unveiled to the public on site at Copenhagen, at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium, for the launch of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP-15), from 7 to 18 December.

CO2 CUBES:  Visualize a Tonne of Change is a digital media art installation and communications platform designed to make visible the monumental scale of carbon dioxide (CO2) being released into the atmosphere by human activity.  “The new media technology system specifically designed for this exhibit, presents viewers with a visual sense of what one metric tonne of CO2 looks like in a solid form,” explains Kiyo Akasaka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information.  “The CO2 Cube is an installation where art, science and technology intersect to generate awareness and solutions supporting a fair deal in Copenhagen.”

The CO2 CUBES:  Visualize a Tonne of Change is a Millennium ART installation, presented in partnership with the United Nations Department of Public Information, powered by Google and YouTube, produced by Obscura Digital, hosted by the City of Copenhagen.

“World-renowned artists, architects, scientists, and technologists have joined forces to deliver an art experience that will leave a lasting impression and help people understand the impact of our CO2footprint, while inspiring new solutions that we can individually and collectively take part in to reduce our CO2 emissions,” describes Mia Hanak, Executive Director of Millennium ART.  “We created the CO2 CUBES:  Visualize a Tonne of Change exhibit as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals, themed on Goal 7, ensuring environmental sustainability, a challenge facing every country in the world today.”

As never seen before, the CO2 Cube bridges art and studio lab technology.  “Our programmers have created a completely new type of communications media system for the CO2 Cube.  This system enables us to fuse art, data visualization, and streaming content, dynamically,” says Travis Threlkel, Founder and Creative Director of Obscura Digital, Inc.  “When people witness this monolithic cube in action they will be seeing something very new.”

Nature installation artist Alfio Bonanno, and award winning architect Christophe Cornubert merged vision and design to help show the size of 1 metric tonne of carbon dioxide.  Measured and stored at standard atmospheric pressure, one tonne of CO2 occupies an art cube the size of a three-story building measuring 8.2m x 8.2m x 8.2m (27ft3).  This is the amount of CO2 the average person in an industrialized country emits each month.

The CO2 Cube is also a communications platform for public engagement, utilizing a live web portal powered by Google and YouTube to provide a means for people to “virtually” take part in the global dialogue, sharing ideas and solutions about how to reduce our own individual cubes, lessening our impact on climate change.  “Google and YouTube have a mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  The CO2 Cube is an innovative way to amplify the conversations happening in Copenhagen so that more people can access the dialogue taking place.  This exhibit truly will bring more information to more people, and that makes it a perfect fit for our mission,” states Chris Di Cesare, Chief Marketing Officer of YouTube.

For additional information, please visit www.millenniumart.org, or contact Julia Hagl at e-mail:  hagl@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record