Behind the Outlet
Installed at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport

There’s much more to the power system than meets the eye.

This interactive installation highlights the story behind the everyday power outlet: showing how the amount of energy that needs to be produced is directly connected to our individual consumption habits.

A series of LED-backlit steel cutouts are connected by power cords.

Three lamps hanging over tables in the airport food court contain motion sensors that detect when the tables are in use. When all 3 tables are in use, the full electrical grid is illuminated. As the tables are vacated, the appliance cutouts and lamps turn off; which powers down the electrical grid.

When all LED lights are on, the installation’s energy use is equivalent to a 75 watt incandescent light bulb.

The project aims to promote respect for the electrical system; reminding passersby of the complex system that lies behind the everyday electrical outlet (and the electricity obtained through it). This will help nudge people toward a true conservation mindset.

artwork sponsored by

Big thanks to Kenneth Birt – technical expert, dad, and my partner on the project. Thanks to Forecast Public Art for their guidance. And thanks to Diane, Simona & Jacob for the help during install.