Two Scottish based companies have joined forces with environmental artists to measure CO2 during the Edinburgh Festival.
The project, called Spirit in the Air: CO2 Edenburgh, aims to fuel debate on how art can change the political and social climate and how the arts sector can cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.
It is led by renowned international environmental artists Tim Collins, Reiko Goto and Chris Malcolm who will use Scottish technology to measure how much CO2 is generated as audiences pack into theatres and galleries and traffic clogs the city’s streets during the Festival period.
Festival-goers will encounter two uniformed ‘Carbon Catchers’ using state-of the-art detectors to find carbon hotspots. Monitoring stations will be set up in venues such as The Lyceum and the National Galleries and parks like Princes Street Gardens and Arthur’s Seat.
Spirit in the Air: CO2 Edenburgh will be based at the Tent Gallery, in Edinburgh College of Art, where the artists will gather real-time data streaming in from across the city to their studio-lab. Mini computers will use LED displays and sound synthesis to express the data and reveal how it changes through the days and weeks.
For this, Glasgow-based Gas Sensing Solutions is providing revolutionary CO2 detectors which use solid state technology to make them small, efficient portable and ultra low-energy.
Envirologger, meanwhile, is supplying the wireless data collection and management system which allows the artists to simultaneously receive data in real-time from the sensors across the city.
Ben Twist, director of Creative Carbon Scotland which is co-producing Spirit in the Air, said: “It’s tremendous to see Scotland’s arts, science and technology sectors taking a lead by coming together at the Edinburgh Festival to vividly demonstrate how human behaviour is damaging the environment.
“Spirit in the Air is only possible because of the advanced technology available from Gas Sensing Solutions and Envirologger. Companies like these are transforming our ability to monitor CO2 emissions.
“The festival is a superb opportunity to encourage debate on how artists, arts organisations and the public can reduce their emissions and make a more sustainable Scotland. It’s also a chance to discuss the ways in which the arts and science can collaborate to take messages about climate change to a wider audience.”
CO2 monitoring might also have benefits for performers and venues which wonder why audiences sometimes doze off even during the best quality shows! “When audiences start to yawn and nod off, it’s not that they are bored, but because the CO2 levels are too high. If theatres monitor the levels they can stop it happening – and they can also save around 25% on their energy bills, which is good for the environment and saves money,” said Alan Henderson, director Gas Sensing Solutions.