Thoughtworks Arts

Blog Receives Prix Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity

Posted by the Thoughtworks Arts Team
Monday, 21 June 2021 has been awarded the Prix Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity for creating the Branch online magazine.

Two magazine covers, one with cartoon figures plugging devices into a forest, and the other with figures inhabiting a futuristic landscape
Branch covers by Hélène Baum and Gica Tam

The magazine was spearheaded by Michelle Thorne, Chris Adams, Laurence Bascle, Carrie Hou, Tom Jarrett, Jack Lenox, Hannah Smith and others as part of an international community effort. was co-founded by Thoughtworks Arts Director Andrew McWilliams.

Prix Ars Electronica is the world’s most time-honored award in electronic and interactive art, with prize ceremonies going back more than thirty years. The Digital Humanity Award focuses on artistic projects that address social, cultural, and humanitarian issues in our digital society.

Four example online magazine page renderings differentiated by grid intensity, with simpler renderings during high intensity periods
The magazine adapts to power grid intensity at each visitor’s location

The user interface of the magazine was designed by Tom Jarrett to be ‘Demand Responsive’ meaning it adapts to the physical infrastructure of the internet and the energy behind the page view.

By looking up power grid intensity and the user’s location, Branch renders in four different ways to adjust to detected power needs.

Andrew McWilliams on the origin and growth of

The community first formed when tech sector employees got together to advocate under a sector-wide global banner for greater awareness and action and awareness of tech’s role in the climate crisis.

The community now operates over a wide swath of the planet with online hubs based in every continent bar Antarctica, and discussion and action groups around varied topics such as machine learning, tech research, product design, datacenters and web infrastructure.

A flyer for TEDxClimateActionTech

This international collaboration has led to a Climate Tech TED talk series and an ongoing series of Climate Tech Salons with public online presentations followed by private community discussions. The community is served by a highly active Slack, targeted social campaigns and was a central instigator for the Digital Climate Strike.

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