Shannon Scovell and Todd Montgomery
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:
Just as insects reveal the intricacies of their forms by unfurling their wings, the sculptural components of FLEET 1244 expose its layers to invoke a sense of wonderment and splendor. Each turbine engages with the wind, inciting a performance centered around the revelation of this natural phenomenon. The force of the wind sets the outside protective shell in motion. With enough speed, the outer propellers open up. The inner propellers beneath float up to take flight—whirling around, engaging the wind while generating electricity through this carefully choreographed spectacle. The rotations power a generator below, sending electric currents to an onsite substation. The energy is then transmitted from the substation through power lines to provide energy for the grid.
The twelve-hundred and forty-four wind turbines are oriented on a NW-axis in line with the most prominent wind direction for the area. The heights range from 8-30m with a wingspan of 4-15m. These dimensions gradate from the roadside to the water’s edge. Harder shelled aluminum wings encase the softer wings beneath. These outer wings protect the sculpture from hash elements.
A subtle glowing light is emitted from the sculpture. Energy to power the light comes from photovoltaic fibers embedded in the two softer fabric wings. Translucent fiber optic or LED embedded threads and PV cells are woven into the fabric that is stretched around a lightweight aluminum armature. Energy captured is stored within the windmill pole and released to illuminate the sculpture during the night hours. When wind activity is low, the wings are closed and a single strip of light follows the seam where the edges of the inner wings meet.
The complete unfurling of the sculpture occurs when wind speeds are at their peak. The field becomes a destination for art enthusiasts, residents, and meteorological study. Weather forecasters inform the public of seasonal wind speeds, making the unfolding of FLEET1244 an event for Abu Dhabi. Four-thousand and sixty-six wings in total will take flight as the wind drives the performance of the art; a spectacle of a glowing rotating canopy overhead. The field comes to life as the wind agitates the sculptural elements in the landscape. Passing across the site, the wind becomes visible as the art registers the activity of the air current. The invisible element becomes visible, demonstrating its energy potentials.
Viewing of the field can be from the water, on land, or in passing by the piece on the adjacent roadway. The piece comes to life in plan and section when agitated by the wind. Viewing platforms have not been included in the design because the piece is wholly visible from a distance. There will be a vista point, similar to that of a freeway or highway offshoot in which visitors can park to look up at the landscape before them. Due to safety precautions the art may not be easily accessible up close, but readily experienced from a distance. We propose that during an event, portions of the adjacent land can be sectioned off for visitors to enjoy the art and take in the vastness of the space.