Visualizing Energy through Live Performance (2017-2018)

Public misconceptions about energy consumption and generation present challenges for both energy policymakers and leading decision-makers in industry. These misconceptions are, in part, a result of a lack of tangible, visual information for individuals about their own energy consumption and that of the larger power grid.

This team aimed to make energy visualizations more accessible to the public through performance. An earlier version of this project team created a portable performance environment that is able to project images and sound into the local scene and respond to and record the local ambience.

In 2017-2018, team members created several live interfaces, including a wearable technology that created sounds based on velocity data gathered from a performing dancer in an interface designed by Quran Karriem. The sounds heard were a sonification of appliances in use at the Duke Smart Home in an interface designed by Matthew Kenney. Duke Researcher Kyle Bradbury offered pointed commentaries about how our energy choices matter. Visual interfaces created by Rebecca Uliasz and Summer Dunsmore animated information and imagination spaces in response to the performer’s motions.

Performers for this piece were drawn from the Pratt Engineering/Dance Course Performance and Technology, led by Martin A. Brooke and Thomas F. DeFrantz.


Summer 2017 – Spring 2018

Team Outcomes

These Borders That Hold Me Down Thomas DeFrantz, James Clotfelter, Martin Brooke, Matthew Kenney, Quran Karriem, Rebecca Uliasz, Summer Dunsmore. Live performance. May 18-19, 2018. Durham, NC: Moogfest.

Turn Down For What? Dylan Beder, Michelle Chen, Doruk Doganay, Matthew Harris, Amber Johnson, Siddarth Kethireddy, Andrew Liu, Kelly McLaughlin, Maddie Nelson, Sam Oshero, Advait Reddy, Richard Ruiz, Belal Taher, Tyler Yam, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Quran Karriem. Live performance. April 13, 2018. Durham, NC. ChoreoLab.

Visualizing Energy through Live Performance (poster by Martin Brooke, Thomas DeFrantz and Kyle Bradbury), presented at Bass Connections Showcase, April 18, 2018

Project team site


ChoreoLab 2018: "Turn Down For What?"

Visualizing Energy Use through Performance

This Team in the News

Duke's Andrew Liu Awarded Udall Scholarship

Q&A with Summer Dunsmore, MFA EDA ’18, Lecturer at USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

Duke Names Second Class of Nakayama Scholars

Student-produced Performance Illuminates Links between Energy, Technology and the Body

See earlier related team, Performance in the Community (2016-2017). This project was selected by the Franklin Humanities Institute as a humanities-connected project

Bass Connections team members

Team Leaders

  • Martin Brooke, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Thomas F. DeFrantz, Arts & Sciences-African and African American Studies

/graduate Team Members

  • Summer Dunsmore, MFA/Experimental and Doc Arts

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Alice Dai, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), English (AB2)
  • Katherine Guo, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BSE2)
  • Noelle Li, Neuroscience (BS), Computer Science (AB2)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Kyle Bradbury, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering|Energy Initiative