Mark Sciberras, Andreja Beric, India Aspin, and Jack Pannell
Designed for Site #2 in Abu Dhabi, between Saadiyat Island and Yas Island.
Design Submission for the 2010 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition
Artist's descriptive text:
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF ELECTRICITY?
We view the production of electricity for the UAE in relation to its consumption; any amount a Land Art installation could produce would simply be a drop in the ocean.
The ambition of this Land Art Generator initiative is laudable. While the technology we employ could be used to create electricity (and does so for lighting) we would like, with the competition jury’s permission, to shift the focus.
IS ELECTRICITY THE PROBLEM?
As technology and global thinking shift towards renewable energy production, the UAE finds itself fortunate in its abundance of solar energy. Its natural resources ensure that electricity production will never be a problem.
IF NOT……THEN WHAT IS?
The UAE is burdened by a lack of one resource that is essential to its future growth: fresh water. The UAE currently uses a huge proportion of its electricity consumption (approx. 25%) on the energy intensive process of seawater desalination.
INCREASE PRODUCTION OR REDUCE CONSUMPTION?
With the largest population growth rate in the world and the highest rate of water consumption in the world the UAE’s dependence on desalinated seawater is total. The solution of increasing the production of water and energy indefinitely to meet demand is unsustainable. There must be an alternative solution.
THE LAND ART [RESOURCE] GENERATOR
We aim to inspire a society to question the processes that support their lifestyle. Our proposal is a physical representation of a natural cycle that harnesses solar energy to generate fresh water. By providing low energy alternatives to industrial desalination we can still generate an excess of electricity for the grid.
THE سراب IN THE DESERT
We aim to create an experience at three scales:
From the distant surroundings our installation is a sparkling mirage on the horizon, a vaporous form that shimmers by day and de-materialises by night.
Closer up, at a captured moment between two urbanised landscapes, where desert and city dweller meet, this becomes an encounter with a cloud. Its language is of a process that connects the sea, sky and ground and produces buoyant water droplets that contrast with the continuous skyline.
Within it is not the vision but the atmosphere, the sensation of when water touches the skin, experienced as a rain shower that is triggered each evening by the setting of the sun.
WHY WATER NOT ELECTRICITY
The legend of Abu Dhabi reminds us everyday of the reliance on fresh water. Protecting this resource should be at the heart of its culture, so we have chosen to remark on its preciousness. Through our resource generator, we can demonstrate the harvesting of sea water to produce thousands of litres of desalinated fresh water for irrigation purposes. So why water not electricity? Through this manifestation of the hydrological cycle, we can offer low technology, low energy alternatives to industrial desalination processes. These therefore counter balances the amount of electricity needed to produce desalinate water through energy intensive means. We don’t produce electricity, we simply save it!