Natural Fuse

Umbrellium (UK)
Public Intervention, 2008

Natural Fuse creates a gallery wide network of electronically assisted plants that act both as energy providers and as circuit breakers to prevent carbon footprint overload. Natural Fuse is a microscale carbon dioxide monitor and overload protection framework. It works to harness the carbon sinking capabilities of plants — a natural environment that absorbs and stores carbon dioxide.

A power socket enables people to power or recharge their electrical appliances and devices while the plants growth offsets the carbon footprint of the energy expended. Since typical energy use requires more than one plant to offset an appliance’s carbon footprint, the Natural Fuse plants are networked so that stored carbon offsetting capacity can be used for as necessary by other plants.

Since it is unlikely that all Natural Fuses will be in use at the same time, by networking them together, the units can ‘borrow’ excess capacity from other units not currently being used in order to share their capacity and take advantage of a surplus of carbon sinking in the system.

If visitors co-operate on energy expenditure the plants will thrive, permitting us to use more energy while remaining carbon neutral. Without this co-operation, the network’s electricity capacity will diminish and the plants will start to die.

About the artist: 

Umbrellium designs and builds technological tools to support citizen empowerment and highimpact engagement in cities. They work throughout the world with communities, organisations, urban developments and city councils to deliver projects using a proven methodology that gets people involved in design activities, decision-making and defining project goals. Their aim is for participants to develop a shared sense of technological enfranchisement and ownership in civic outcomes. When people act together, they are more effective. They are a team of architects, designers, tactical urbanists and creative technologists that have designed and deployed awardwinning participatory platforms like and mass-participation urban spectacles like the Burble.