Natalie Jeremijenko, 32
"Bureau of Inverse Technology"
Are you a knowledge worker? If so, Natalie Jeremijenko would like you to install Stump on your computer. Every time you print out a tree’s worth of paper, Stumpprints a picture of a tree ring. With enough rings, you can reconstruct the stump of a tree. For Australian-born Jeremijenko, who is director of the Yale University Engineering Design Lab and an acclaimed technoartist, Stump is a way to make "a tangible version of the Internet world."
Jeremijenko says her aim is to pierce the shared "hallucination" that cyberspace is somehow clean and immaterial. In reality, she points out, the digital domain is a world of hardware and some hard truths. Jeremijenko makes the latter difficult to ignore with projects like OneTree, in which 2,000 walnut trees will be placed in sensor-equipped planters around the San Francisco Bay area next year. As the trees grow, their condition will record the region’s climatic, socioeconomic and environmental extremes. Silicon Valley is home to a large concentration of Superfund toxic waste sites, and one of the nation’s largest gaps between rich and poor.
Jeremijenko, who produces much of her art under the auspices of a fictional institution she calls the Bureau of Inverse Technology, makes novel use of technologies to record social phenomena. She shot a documentary of Silicon Valley from a remote-controlled spy plane, concealed cameras in teddy bears to record children’s expressions, and installed a motion detector near the Golden Gate Bridge to count suicides (17 in 100 days).