ExpoTENtial started to address the urban issue of light waste—think, the lights on and no one home, the iconic city skyline at night—as the subject of the District One lab. In order to identify how design might mediate between citizen and government on this particular issue, ExpoTENtial, in collaboration with its designer David Heasty and curator Jackie Khiu partners, hoped research would provide the contextual basis to develop meaningful strategies to engage the citizen in various light-saving actions and awareness campaigns. The team decided to focus on the City’s first electrified energy grid, District One, as both the study site and symbolic territory. Serviced by the Pearl Street Station, built in 1882, District One was the first modern electric utility covering a rectangular .65 square-kilometer area bordered by Wall Street to the south.
The District One Lab quickly identified the problems of scale. To push advance District One’s light waste project, it was first necessary to understand the production and distribution of electricity. expoTENtial established an academic partnership starting in Fall 2012 with a graduate student-team from Cornell University’s City and Regional Planning (CRP) composed of urban designers, architects, planners and architecture historians Vidhee Garg, Jacob McNally, Rebecca Parelman, Jiang Ren and Steven Wang. Meanwhile we extended the partnership to collaborate with Town+Gown on this research project.
This project is still a work in progress… read some updates here