Smart - data makes art

smART is a dynamic art installation that reflects your consumption of natural resources such as heating and water and allows you to form an emotional relationship with your personal data.


Research | Concept | Build

Visual | Arduino | Experience

Product | Interface | Data visualisation


Project Details:

Completed in 2 weeks in October 2015 as part of an industry project with IKEA and ArtRebels at CIID with Victoria HammelsmART is a fully working electronic prototype currently being exhibited at Space10




Special thanks to:

- Gizem Boyacioglu

- Anders Højmose

ArtRebels Crew



Living in developed countries with superior infrastructures and seemingly unlimited access to the ubiquitous things, we tend to forget natural resources are finite. Current smart home solutions for regulating and optimizing consumption give little to no information to the user on their behavior and routine. Although every device in our home is a data touchpoint, hardly any of this is reflected in our living space, where we most need it. Conversely, future visions of smart homes depict a world where technology invisibly deals with all our chores. Is living in such a world actually desirable? How might we tailor this technology to reinforce sustainable and responsible living? How might people appropriate their smart-home technology to regain control of their consumption?


smART is a dynamic art-based solution for people to track and reward themselves for their sustainable consumption behaviour at home. The art piece receives real-time information from water and heating sensors around your home and adjusts its appearance based on your consumption. The blue and red colored layers representing water and heating fade out when the user exceeds sustainability guidelines for consumption, leading the art piece to lose contrast, thus losing the painting in the background.

Current solutions for tracking personal data rely heavily on numbers, graphs and alerts. All of these things are hard to form an emotional relationship with. Moving objects on the other hand are fascinating to people because we ascribe life to them and want to take care of them. Data presented in a tangible and easily understandable way creates intrinsic motivation to change one’s behavior.


We envision that the home will be a place where people will try to be less wasteful as the world's natural resources become more strained. We will need more non-intrusive solutions for presenting big data in an understandable way without creating more cognitive load.


We held interviews with several smart home technologists and young homeowners on their future vision of homes and technology. Users created cognitive maps of their living and working spaces. We also gave them future scenarios and asked them to imagine life under different limiting circumstances. We were inspired by tangible data visualisations but still found them hard to interpret. That’s why we wanted to use a simple layer that leaves little room for interpretation and still looks engaging enough to pull you in.