Sydneysiders will be forced to think about their energy consumption when they use an appliance hooked up to a plant as part of an innovative art exhibition on sustainability.

Leading artists, designers and collectives will present examples of interactive, practical art in Try this at Home, curated by Margaret Farmer from National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), which is part of COFA at UNSW. The event is hosted by partner organisation Object: Australian Centre for Craft and Design.

In Natural Fuse plants are connected to an appliance to show the impact of individual decisions on climate change. Participants borrow a planter box and appliance, such as a lamp, to use in their own homes. Before switching it on, they must check online that there is enough energy in the network to power it. If there is, they may proceed with a clear conscience. If not and they proceed anyway, the plant will receive a fatal shot of vinegar.

In another part of the exhibition, people are able to earn their television privileges by pedalling a bike-powered home cinema. Users of the cinema will see the story of the world's first carbon neutral festival and can later take part in a bike workshop.

The public will be able to contribute ideas on how to live more sustainably, via the website.

Try this at Home is the first exhibition in the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded five-year Curating Cities research project, investigating how art and design can bring about sustainable urban transformations. It is supported by the City of Sydney. The exhibition is an associated event of Art & About Sydney 2011.

What: Artists talk about Try this at Home When: 11.30am-12.30pm, Saturday, 8 October (the exhibition runs until 8 January, 2012)Where: Object, 417 Bourke Street, Surry Hills

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 0422 934 024