We are in the most important race of the century – a sprint to create a low-carbon city by 2030. Our target is pretty ambitious – a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to our 2006 levels.

As an organisation, we were sitting on a generous amount of fascinating data on Sydney’s environmental performance – and wanted to find a way to represent this in a manner that didn’t resort to mind-numbing charts and tables – so we commissioned Building Run for Art & About Sydney this year.

A collaboration between Carbon Arts and the City and created by video artist Keith Deverell, Building Run is a video installation which uses real-time energy savings from office buildings to ‘power’ human runners. Five elite athletes will compete in a daily race, each controlled by an energy efficient building. Installed at Deutsche Bank Place, Australia’s first Norman Foster-designed tower dramatically elevated at 31 storeys, Building Run will display the runners on five large LCD screens side by side.

The real-time energy consumption of five energy-efficient buildings (400 George Street, 255 Elizabeth Street, BT Tower, Customs House and Deutsche Bank Place) are sourced every 15 minutes and used to ‘control’ their respective human avatar. Low energy use will make the virtual athletes run a faster, more efficient race, and as energy levels ramp up, the signs of exhaustion in the runner will show.

Aiming to represent sustainability data in an interesting new format, Building Run is a metaphor for how we, as occupants, affect the health of a building.

Deverell was working from the idea that buildings are living and breathing organisms – much like human beings – and that a healthy body image is as relevant to buildings as it is to humans.

And this version of a ‘corporate fitness’ program couldn’t be more important, with office buildings accounting for 71% of our carbon emissions.

It seems the idea to project media other than Times Square-style neon advertising from the gleaming facades of corporate buildings isn’t a new trend, nor a concept limited to the Blade Runner universe. The Iluma entertainment and retail building in Singapore, for example, is wrapped in a crystal mesh which transforms it into a giant light sculpture and a wall of the Xicui Entertainment Complex in Beijing implements a system in which the solar energy collected from photovoltaic cells during the day lights up the screen in the evening.

Check out Building Run at The Assembly, Deutsche Bank Place, 126 Phillip St Sydney, from 20 September to 19 October. For more info on the full Art & About 2013 program, go here.

Published: 23 Sep, 2013 | 0 Comments | Tags: , , | Author: Esther Bailey, Sustainability Manager

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