The goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is to design and construct Land Art / Environmental Art installations that have the added benefit of large scale clean energy generation. Each sculpture will continuously distribute clean energy into the electrical grid with each land art sculpture having the potential to provide power to thousands of homes.
Land Art is an art movement in which landscape and the work of art are inextricably linked. Works of Land Art are sometimes created with only the natural materials of the surroundings. In this case, we are asking interdisciplinary artist teams to use technology as the medium for art in a way that is sympathetic to and inspired by the natural surroundings.
Art has the proven ability to create movements and stimulate creative dialogue. The artist community has long taken a critical approach to the problems of energy use and production, which has helped to open the public eye to the severity of the problems facing us. The time is now for artists to go further and take an active role in solving the problem through their own work: “solution-based art practice”.
As we move towards our renewable energy future we should recognize the inherent differences that exist between the old and the new means of energy production and the change to built manifestations that consequently follow from this shift. When power generation facilities were adapted for the urban environment in previous eras, they necessarily responded to the aesthetic considerations of the time required of them to integrate with the fabric of the community. As the days of the gas or coal fired power plant at the farthest outskirts of the city come to a close, we will find more and more integration of energy production within the fabric of our commercial and residential communities. The need for large scale exurban generation will always be there, but it will be augmented more and more by urban and rural micro-generation and mid-scale generation.
We live in a world that cross-culturally puts a high emphasis on design. As energy generation necessarily comes in closer proximity with the real estate that it powers, issues of aesthetics that drive acceptance are becoming more and more debated. A holistic approach to a renewable energy infrastructure has a place for both macro and micro-generation.
Macro installations in the landscape should also take care in their design to integrate with their surroundings both visually and environmentally. Micro installations should take care in their designs to integrate with the fabric of the urban community. Just as buildings and public art and land art exist as interventions in the fabric of the environment, so must power generation constructions from our green fields to our suburbs to our downtowns react responsibly to their role as permanent additions to our shared experience.
We have, on the one hand, an ever increasing drive toward buildings and cities that are being designed to run on 100% renewable energy. The design community and city planners are moving in this direction driven by the collective will of society. On the other hand, we have technologies proliferating that are still rather utilitarian in their form such as the standard horizontal axis, three blade wind turbine. And these utilitarian forms are seeing some pushback from individual communities, especially as they come closer and closer to the city. The first warning signs of this are seen in rural mountaintop residential communities and coastal communities but this debate will only get more and more heated as the devices integrate into more dense urban environments.
What is needed in order to bridge the gap (between the larger desire for a renewable future and the community level negative reactions to the application of the systems required for it) is an artistic movement that can set a course towards aesthetic considerations in sustainable infrastructure. Because, after all, sustainability in communities is not only about resources, but it is also about harmony.
The Land Art Generator Initiative will bring together the sciences and the arts in a commitment to the future by making aesthetic power plants that inspire the world through their conceptual beauty and their renewable nature.
The LAGI viewing platforms will be tourist destinations that will draw people from around the world to experience the beauty of the collaborative art creations. The LAGI sites will eventually return financially on the investment that is made in their production as they continue to produce clean energy that will be used by consumers both private and public for decades into the future.
The 2010 LAGI International design competition is now open and teams are registering. The deadline for submission is June 4, 2010.