Manifest Energy

Jasmine Soltani

A series of artifacts that explore the limitations and opportunities for ecologically sustainable computing, with a focus on the energy consumed in the production of our digital devices.


The lifecycle of a product includes the mining and processing of natural resources, manufacturing, transport, product delivery, use, and its reuse, recycling or disposal. Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with production: the life-cycle up until the use phase. Manifest Energy is a series of lenticular stickers, a mechanical animation, and website that illustrate the life-cycle and embodied energy of digital devices.

Electronics are unique in that they have exceedingly high embodied energy, exacerbated by planned obsolescence, their difficulty to repair, lack of supply chain accountability, and the increasing ubiquity of computing. The energy economy, on which the ecologically destructive digital economy is based, is unsustainable in itself. Can illuminating the resource demand of our digital devices change our consumption habits, our relationship with our devices, the way we design and legislate their use, and handle end-of-life?

In addition to shifting the paradigm by which we think about energy consumption, I hope my project informs people of actions that can be taken. By extending the lives of our products through repair, we can reduce demand for new items. By developing more modular electronics, we can make these devices easier to repair. By putting pressure on companies and legislators, we can achieve greater supply chain transparency and improve the health of people working on or near production sites. By developing renewable energy sources and eliminating carbon emissions, we can mitigate the ecological impact of the production of digital technologies.