Harrison’s first interactive installation (created in December 2000 whilst studying at Nottingham Trent University) draws an analogy between the unnecessary energy we consume in snack foods and that consumed by the electrical appliances we use for entertainment and comfort in our homes. The viewer is invited into an arm chair to watch various snack foods appear on a TV screen for durations equivalent to their energy content.

This is an interactive installation where viewers are invited sit in an arm chair, eat a few snacks and watch TV. The installation uses a 21″ TV, VCR, fan heater, floor lamp, armchair and various snacks. We consume chemical energy in the form of food in order to function. Household appliances consume electrical energy to allow them to function.

The snack foods used in the installation are: a salted peanut containing 16960 joules, a ready salted crisp containing 22180 joules, a Cool Original Dorito containing 42800 joules, an Original Hula Hoop containing 17440 joules and a Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch containing 20840 joules.

The appliances used in the installation are: a Saville television using 150 watts, a JVC video cassette recorder using 24 watts, the Dimplex fan heater using 2400 watts and the Ikea floor lamp using 60 watt giving a total of 2634 watts.

A direct comparison is made between the chemical energy consumed by eating a snack food and the electrical energy consumed by the appliances. The result gives the length of time that the energy of a single crisp could power all of the appliances in the room. This time is indicated by the duration in which it appears on the TV screen.

Time = energy/power:

  • For a salted peanut time = 16960/2634 = 6.44 seconds on screen
  • For a ready salted crisp the time is 8.42 seconds on screen
  • For a Cool Original Dorito the time is 16.24 seconds on screen
  • For an Original Hula Hoop the time is 6.62 seconds on screen
  • For a Flamin’ Hot Monster Munch the time is 7.91 seconds on screen
Photo: Ellie Harrison