The Checklist by Heidi Nikolaisen and Sophy King
A LOW-CARBON ARTIST WEBSITE
There are many things to consider when thinking about how to create more energy efficient websites for artists, as well as websites in general. The artist website is almost mandatory as an important platform to disseminate work. It requires excellent documentation and so can easily become ‘heavy’ with large images, videos and elaborate code. As the digitalization of society grows at high speed, the carbon footprint of digital behaviour becomes ever more relevant; the global internet now consumes more electricity than the UK each year.
A website is often the first step in entering the public art scene. For an artist it can seem like an overwhelming chore to collect their material and consider how to make it available. Unlike companies and industries, artists are mainly left to the task of setting up their personal website by themselves without guidance or technical support.
The Checklist offers a platform from which to start thinking about your website, with sustainability in mind from the beginning, or to rethink the website that you have. It is meant as an encouragement to think about disseminating work in a more carbon neutral way and to spread awareness of the carbon footprint of the digital artefact known as the Artist Website.
The Checklist is the result of collaborative research by the artists Sophy King and Heidi Nikolaisen within the framework of the Sustain 2021 programme initiated by Castlefield Gallery.
The aim of the research has been to pinpoint ways of reducing carbon emissions from artists’ websites, to know what to be aware of and to support the building of a more sustainable digital culture.
We have tried to apply these checklist items ourselves in the process of building our collective project, the Sustain Zine’s, website. As we have encountered multiple obstacles in these efforts, the checklist should not be taken as a complete perfect plan for action, but rather as a starting point to keep experimenting. We found plenty of good advice on how to lower the co2 emissions of your page, much of it aimed at designers and developers. We have tried to balance the degree of technicality in developer’s guides with the focus on aesthetics and performance found in design advice and introduced a third parameter ‐ that of broader ethical and infrastructural systemic perspectives. All together we hope this material will encourage and inspire you to get to know your website better and form stronger opinions, as a small but important step into controlling more of your digital actions.
If you would like to stock the Low Carbon Artists Website Guide Zine, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org