· April 2010

April 2010

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Earlier this month we had the distinguished honor of presenting at the 22nd annual International Sculpture Conference. We were a part of the panel “A Changing Landscape: Sculpture, Society & Environment” chaired by John Grande and also featuring John Roloff and Ian Hunter.

It was an amazing event and conference and we thank the ISC for inviting us to be a part of it. The Land Art Generator Initiative was very well received with a lot of interest in the creative fusion of renewable energy infrastructure and public art and also the specific context of public art potential in the United Arab Emirates. The panel resulted in a very stimulating discussion and audience questions, and while there was some distance conceptually between the work of the panelists, there was a great thread that tied it all together: the necessity for new sculptural conceptions of landscape, be they agricultural, geological, ecological, or energy infrastructural. The continued relevance of sculptural intervention requires a constant reassessment in the context of contemporary cultural issues. Thoughtful sculptural interventions in the landscape can impart a new framework of understanding about fundamental cultural currencies such as water, food, energy, and ecology. We all could have continued for another 90 minutes if we had been given the time.

residential microgeneration as viewed from our London hotel window!

The above image is a comparison of concentrated solar power with the recently awarded nuclear power contract for the UAE. Admittedly, there are far more variables at play than are shown in this simplified graphic. But it is interesting to see that with existing technology, the possibility does exist to convert 100% of the UAE’s energy production over to solar power which would take up the area of the larger dark square. Of course the CSP would not be all in one location but spread out to many smaller installations. The price tag to make the switch would be approximately $30,000 per capita (1.8 million residents) for construction at $4,200 per KW capacity. Amortized over 60 years, that’s $500 per person per year. It would be a permanent solution that is sustainable for hundreds of years with proper maintenance. More oil and gas could be exported rather than combusted for electricity, the skies would be clearer, and there would be no concern about spent nuclear fuel or risks of fallout.

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