AVATAR | 2010

AVATAR | 2010

“Avatar” is a science fiction film in the context of imperialism and ecology where an aggressive corporation mining for a valuable natural resource is starting a military conflict with a native tribe which is living in harmony with nature, worshiping a mother goddess called “Eywa”. To advance it’s materialistic interests, the mining corporation uses an avatar, a hybrid, genetically engineered native-human body to interact with the tribe and the bio-botanical spiritual neural network it is connected to.

In order to raise interest before the official cinema launch, the movie “Avatar” employs an avatar itself in the form of an online-video-trailer released into the wild of the YouTube-video-community, a digitally engineered native-coded body targeting for the valuable resource “views” in the digital network we are connected to.

Pyramis Niger – the avatar of the Internet. A lignite coal pyramid with a base side of 1,422 meters and a height of 905 meters created by the electrical power consumption of the Internet in 2009, totaling 1,000,000,000,000 kWh’s. The lignite briquettes would create a line 1.5 times as big as the distance between Earth and Sun. The shape of the pyramid is thought to be representative of the descending rays of the Sun (Avatara, Sanskrit for “descent”). The same is true for coal, a frozen message from ancient solar rays, an embodied secret from millions of years ago. We are burning it for a purpose, generating electrical power for the net, assembling and compressing cultural memory: global (s)warming for intelligence. Let us be precise about the way we transform the old memory of the world into the new.

My installation “Avatar – incarnation cRdxXPV9GNQ” will introduce the avatar of the film “Avatar”‘s online video-trailer represented by a massive lignite coal briquette body equivalent to the volume of coal that was burnt for the creation of the electrical energy used to serve, transmit and view the online-video-trailer 1 million times. We convert pixels into briquettes, a naturally engineered valuable fossil resource produced by mining the network Earth we are connected to.

Cubus Niger – incarnation cRdxXPV9GNQ, a lignite coal cube with a side length of 3 meters created by the electrical power consumption of one million views of the “Avatar”-movie-trailer on YouTube.

Where Ava is another form of Eve (Eywa) and tar is another form of coal, the Internet is our only chance to enhance human development, a precious intellectual resource, our native body of knowledge. Even if we would consider only one percent of the available information in the net to be valuable, it would justify the large amount of natural resources we are investing at this point of human development.

With the availability of information comes a deal: the individual responsibility of knowing and acting. Where Earth enforms, intelligence informs, society otherwise uniforms.

On October 29th, 2009, just after the release of the trailer and the manifestation of our concept, the trailer hit one million views, which creates the exhibited cube with a side length of 3 meters and a weight of 37 tons.

As of June 1st, 2010, the total views for the trailer have surpassed 14.5 million creating a cube with the side length of 7 meters, weighing 540 tons. The cube is continuously growing and hence so is the amount of coal physically burnt in exchange and hence so is the size of the hole in Earth.

AVATAR – incarnation cRdxXPV9GNQ has been produced by and is currently on tour with ZUR NACHAHMUNG EMPFOHLEN! – examples to follow!

“@”, Foto by Leander Hörmann



Dr. Jonathan G. Koomey, Ph.D. / Prof. Niko P. Ernsting, Humboldt-Universität, Berlin / Hans Engelke Energie OHG, Berlin / Stiftung Forum der Kulturen zu Fragen der Zeit / Jochen Flasbarth, Umweltbundesamt Dessau

Limes Niger – Assuming that the Great Wall of China would be completely built out of coal, we surprisingly find out that the complete wall would just be big enough to produce the amount of electrical power sufficient for operating the Internet for the duration of one single year.


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Materialistic Media Metrics



Titel: Pyramis Niger – incarnation MMIX
Author: Michael Saup
License: Attribution-Share Alike 3.0
Original photograph by Ricardo Liberato

Titel: Cubus Niger – incarnation cRdxXPV9GNQ
Author: Michael Saup
License: Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
Original photograph by Rita Willaert

Title: Limes Niger
Author: Michael Saup
License: CC BY 3.0 (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)
Original photographs by Bill Price III and Brocken Inaglory

Titel: Mumbai Sun Gates
Author: Michael Saup
License: cc by-nc-sa 3.0
Original photograph by https://www.flickr.com/people/italo_ana/

photo by Christin Lahr 2014