Electricity is so embedded in every part of our day that we hardly think about it. That is, until summer rolls around and our bills skyrocket, or there’s a blackout. Between rollercoaster oil prices and the hydraulic fracturing boom, these days energy is the talk of the town. But where does our electricity come from? How does it get to us? Where individuals fit into this large and complex system? With these questions buzzing in their ears, CUP, teaching artist Samantha Contis, and NYC public high school students followed the current on a whirlwind investigative tour of the energy supply chain.
To get to the source of New York City’s electricity infrastructure, the team interviewed energy experts and peered down manholes. They visited a local utility company headquarters, an upstate transmission monitoring center, and plenty of power plants – from Astoria to Co-op City. They created a booklet and poster to share what they learned on the Power Trip.
The team presented what they learned at the Queens Public Library branch in Astoria in November 2011, where the students led energy-related activities for their Queens peers. The students also presented Power Trip in June 2012 at Anthology Film Archives. Over 140 copies have been given out to date. The bilingual poster and booklet has also been distributed by the Queens Public Library, and used to facilitate a community meeting on energy by National Council of La Raza at their Denver Town Hall.
Thoughts from the team:
“There are several skills I feel I learned. One is how to form questions. That goes from personal to social and so on. Then there is how to ask questions. That specifically means to ask follow-ups to make sure no stone is left unturned." Hubert Gancarz, student
“I learned so much from this program than I would have ever expected, and I also feel proud of myself to share our hard work to the public.” BinHua Wang, student
Power Trip received a Professional Notable citation from the Core77 Design Awards in 2013.