Peak Boil

October 2010

electronics, rca

Peak Boil

Peak Boil is an electrical socket that prevents a kettle being turned on when the National Grid is under strain. Much of the generation infrastructure deals with these peaks in demand, when the country acts in synchrony. For instance, at the moment at which 1.75 million people simultaneously make a cup of tea after Eastenders - BBC - Britain from Above - Tea-time Britain

The bar chart indicates the country's total demand and enables the socket only in times of capacity, as indicated by This is prototyped by a hacked wireless socket that enables and disables the kettle.

Peak Boil is an example of a technology that is imposed, one which the household must orientate around. It removes the liberty of deciding when to make a tea. An intervention was made in my parent's home and was met with horror.

My parents covered the device with a dish-cloth to hide the flashing light and a themos-flask was filled so hot water would still be available when they wanted it.

The body of Peak Boil is formed of laser-cut cardboard and reflects a time where the expense of oil means plastic is no longer the economic material of choice.