· October 2012

October 2012

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1st Place Winner for LAGI 2012: Scene Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows

Artist Team: James Murray, Shota Vashakmadze
Artist Location: Atlanta, USA
Energy Technologies: Piezoelectric Generators (Thin Film and Embedded Wire)
Annual Capacity: 5,500 MWh

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Artist Descriptive Text:

Key interactions of human and ecological energies, above and below the surface of Freshkills, drive complex environmental flows, allowing us to question how to sense, channel, and harness their energies in a productive tension, revealing their interconnected fluctuations in beneficial ways.

Scene-Sensor situates itself at the intersection of flows joining and separating opposing landforms: as a channel screen, harnessing the flows of wind through the tidal artery, and as vantage points, staging crosswise pedestrian flows through the park, the two acting in combination as a mirror-window, reflecting and revealing the scene of Freshkills’ fluctuating landscape back to itself.

The undulating landforms, both above and below the surface, are products of dueling forces: natural and artificial composition. An invisible trace of material history is pinned between its identities of wilderness, marsh, landfill, and public space. But the flows of human and ecological energies are understood as being mutually exclusive, outside the reciprocating senses that have defined the confluence of the landscape. Our proposal constructs a union of these seemingly disparate flows, setting the stage for one another through a sensor of visible and invisible forces: the Scene-Sensor.

Between the North and East mounds a channel of ecological flows defines a corridor of optimum wind flow. To sense and harness the energies inherent to this conduit we propose a wind mapping screen. Two planes, aligned to each mound’s flare station, span the width between the landfill caps and reach the height of the towers, lifting above the waterline without disturbing the local ecosystem.

The channel screens compose a framework for panels free to bend with the wind, reacting individually while articulating larger scale flows as a field. The pixels become an index that reveals the shifting winds and maps fluctuations in the resolute collection of energy. Each panel of reflective metallic mesh, interwoven with piezoelectric wires, transforms forces of motion into electrical current. Perpendicular to the channel screens, the movement of visitors across the park’s only bridge presents a mechanical force to be harvested through piezoelectric transducers, embedding pedestrian flows within the ecological scene. On a spring day, the energy collected through these intersecting processes would be enough to power twelve hundred households.

As evening sets in, a mesh of lights between the channel screens replace reflections of the daylight, displaying a memory of the generated energy. The existing bridge now operates as a vantage point for the constantly illuminated wind flow while Scene-Sensor affords discrete views ramping within and along the meshwork. These perspectival points carve paths through the mesh of light, situating an overlay of flows above and across, woven together to make sense of the landscape.

Scene-Sensor’s impositions of shifting transparency and opacity, light and darkness, and reflection and refraction stage a doubled identity of the mirror-window. As a mirror, it monitors oscillations in energy collection and projects them onto a reflection of surrounding sights. Yet as a window, it frames the unseen, materializing ephemeral textures while affording unprecedented apertures into Freshkills’ scenery.

Never completely a mirror and never completely a window, it seamlessly changes in character and scale: from the perimeter, it is a subsumed monolith, capable of transforming into a guiding beacon; from the hills’ crest, a prism aligned to the flare stations’ crosscutting flows, and a sedentary ‘x’ marking perpetual forces; from the bridge, a stage for human and natural performances which entangle observation and participation; and from within, a microcosm caught between acts, of travelers gazing and drifting, hypnotized and empowered by a recognition of their setting with a glimpse through the Scene-Sensor.


2nd Place Winner for LAGI 2012: Fresh Hills

Artist Team: Matthew Rosenberg
Structural Engineering Consultant: Matt Melnyk
Production Assistants: Emmy Maruta, Robbie Eleazer
Artist Location: Los Angeles, USA
Energy Technologies: WindTamer, Carbon Dioxide Scrubber, SmartWrap
Annual Capacity: 238 MWh

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Artist Descriptive Text:

As we approach Fresh Hills, the undulating mounds appear to be natural elements growing from the earth. The closer we get, however, it is clear that this structure, like the mounds below it, are not native to the recently capped Fresh Kills Landfill site. Its form rests lightly on the existing topography and creates definition across the expansive horizon. It caresses the East mound, creating a seamless integration between utility-scale energy harnessing and a program-filled landscape. It creates a harmonious relationship between earth and wind. Fresh Hills is a remedy for the typical turbine farm that so often isolates the landscape and discourages communities from engaging the space.

The artificial landscape lifts higher at levels of increased energy potential where more predominant wind speeds and duration exist. It is a direct relationship between energy and land. The apparatus is generated from the grafting of Fresh Kills windrose data onto the site, creating a seamless exchange between the site-specific data and the structure used to harness that information. The project is site specific, but the concept provides global versatility.

The apparatus supports the wind turbines while also acting as a buffer that redirects and dissipates airflow towards the turbines vortex. The expansive surface area at the mouth of the mounds helps funnel wind towards the turbine and takes advantage of the fluid dynamic nature of airflow. The structure guides the airflow creating a low-pressure system on the other side of the mounds resulting in a pastoral central plaza. As if standing at the eye of a storm, the central hub becomes a place to gather, reflect, play, and explore.

At the same time, the hub acts as a departure point guiding the user through its valleys to the extending vista platforms. The platforms set up a relationship between the user and the park as they reach out to frame the surrounding context. As site lines extend beyond the immediate park all the way to the Manhattan skyline, a richer meaning to the history of Fresh Kills transpires.

Fresh Hills is more than a CO2 filtering, energy generating landscape. Fresh Hills is a beacon tuned to its specific frequency. It illustrates to the world what the future of Fresh Kills stands for and delivers a promise for a healthier future. It is a symbol that people will recognize, learn from, and interact with for many years to come.


3rd Place Mention for LAGI 2012: PIVOT

Artist Team: Yunxin Hu and Ben Smith
Artist Location: Atlanta, USA
Energy Technologies: Piezoelectric disks and fabric
Annual Capacity: 1,200 MWh

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Artist Descriptive Text:

Central to Freshkills’ future is the fluctuating nature of its two key conditions—the gradual sinking of its landfill and rising of its surrounding sea level—making our challenge how to transform these potential problems into opportunities for land art. PIVOT answers with two intertwining operations: a floating ‘terra nova’ constructed at the moving line between these conditions that frame it while replacing lost terrain; and a gathering of the human and wind energies flowing along ‘the Kill/Confluence.’

01. as landscape relations
adjective, turning on as if on a pivot
At Freshkills Park the edge between land and water is significant as the ‘pivot’ on which these two environments hinge. The edge is home to many plant and animal species which adapt to life both in water and on land. Not unlike these species, PIVOT resides at the edge. It links with the proposed trail system on land, and opens to the water through boat launches. As sea levels rise our land art work will adapt to its environment and continue to perform.

02. as movement relations
verb, to cause to pivot/to turn on or as if on a pivot
Visitors discover PIVOT to be a series of moving orders within a landscape that in turn cause reciprocal pivoting movements. The body is activated as the engaged visitor moves beneath the billowing, orange canopy, down one of the gangplanks, and along the series of floating docks. The up and down movements of visitors oscillate with the ebb and flow of the river.

03. as mechanical relations
noun, a shaft or pin on which something turns
PIVOT consists of a floating metal mesh platform on aluminum pontoons and a piezoelectric canopy structure. Both systems tie into the land through small concrete foundations and pivot around wooden piles sunken into the river bed. The canopy is a prototype for clean energy generation which captures wind energy through fluttering piezoelectric fabric and flexing piezoelectric support ribs. These technologies do exist, but are nascent in their development. We predict that with more development it would be possible to generate 1,200 MWh of clean electricity annually to be used in surrounding homes.

04. as temporal relations
adjective, pivotal, vitally important
PIVOT engages people poetically by illuminating the canopy through tidal detectors at dawn and twilight. Also, it enhances people’s environmental awareness through tick-marks on the wooden piers which highlight the global issue of rising sea levels. PIVOT situates itself between past and future paradigms and proposes a shift in this critical time in history.


4th Place Mention for LAGI 2012: 99 Red Balloons

Artist Team: Emeka Nnadi, Scott Rosin, Meaghan Hunter, Danielle Loeb, Kara McDowell, Indrajit Mitra, Narges Ayat, Denis Fleury
Artist Location: Winnipeg, Canada
Energy Technologies: Solar panels and piezoelectric panels
Annual Capacity: 14,000 MWh

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Artist Descriptive Text:

“99 dreams I have had,
In everyone a red balloon,
It’s all over and I’m standin’ pretty
In this dust that was a city.
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you, and let it go” (99 Luftballoons, Nena, 1984.)

An excerpt from the 1984 song “99 Red Balloons”, this verse evokes visions of loss, hope, memory, and the perseverance of dreams for a redemptive and meaningful future. Inspired by these images, 99 Red Balloons is a thoughtful proposal for a metaphorical souvenir — proof that something redeeming and beautiful can rise out of the ‘dust’ that has been placed on the land by human activity and the accumulation of society’s waste.

In this proposal, North Park is covered with 99 majestic red balloons. They soar over the park terrain, celebrating an awareness of the underground landfill infrastructure and the multiple processes by which energy is captured, harnessed, and ultimately released.

The balloons are photovoltaic solar generators tethered to a resin pole and anchored to the ground by a steel plinth. 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide, the tops of the balloons float 100 feet in the air to fully engage the sun’s rays.

An array of raised boardwalks with piezoelectric panels meander through the site collecting energy as visitors explore the landscape. When stepped on, a sensor is triggered and the nearest balloon fades from vibrant red to transparent, revealing the solar harvesting systems hidden within the balloon cavity. This magical interaction between people and the installation challenges visitors to reflect upon the pressure that has been placed on the site and the impact a single human being can have on the environment.

99 Red Balloons inspires contemplative thought in park visitors as the balloons fade and intensify in color responding to human activity. Beacons for present and future generations, they symbolize the release of pressure that has amassed from years of the site’s use as a waste storage facility.


We are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2012 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Freshkills Park as determined by a group of professionals in NYC. A very special thank you to the entire shortlist committee and to Decker Yeadon, LLC for hosting this evening of engaged dialogue!

And congratulations to the teams. We thank each of them for developing such innovative concepts. Together the 2012 portfolio shows a beautiful vision of our clean energy future.

1st Place (Chosen by the official jurors)
Scene-Sensor // Crossing Social and Ecological Flows
Artist Team: James Murray, Shota Vashakmadze
Artist Location: Atlanta, USA
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2nd Place (Chosen by the official jurors)
Fresh Hills
Artist Team: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist Location: Los Angeles, USA
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3rd Place Mention (Chosen by the official jurors)
Artist Team: Ben Smith, Vee Hu
Artist Location: Atlanta, USA
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4th Place Mention (Chosen by the official jurors)
99 Red Balloons
Artist Team: Scott Rosin, Meaghan Hunter, Danielle Loeb, Emeka Nnadi, Kara McDowell, Jocelyn Chorney, Indrajit Mitra, Narges Ayat, Denis Fleury
Artist Location: Winnipeg, Canada
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The below list is in random order and does not represent placement within the shortlist.

Solar Loop
Artist Team: Paolo Venturella, Alessandro Balducci, Gilberto Bonelli, Rocco Valantines, Mario Emanuele Salini, Pietro Bodria
Artist Location: Paris, France
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Power Play!
Artist Team: Trygve Faste, Aubrey Ament, Michael Bartell, Bryce Burgess, Kevin Do, Yasunori Fujikawa, Elizabeth Hampton, Heidi Hollingsworth, Isamu Jarman, Stephanie McCuaig, Lauren Mikami, Daniel Nicholson, Nathan Schultze, Claire Stewart, Joel Swenson, Rebecca Swofford
Artist Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
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In Between Scapes of Light
Artist Team: Carmen Bakanitsch, Christoph Walter Pirker
Artist Location: Graz, Austria
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Inefficiency can be Beautiful
Artist Team: Young-Tack Oh, Sungwoo Mattew Choi, Taylor Tso, Jin Hwan Choi, Joshua Choi, Betty Liu, Bomin Kim
Artist Location: Saint Louis, USA
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Field of Energy
Artist Team: Georgia Chousou, Pinelopi Korantani
Artist Location: Athens, Greece
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Artist Team: Michael Christian, Moumee Habib, Vanessa Pankhurst
Artist Location: Halifax, Canada
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Artist Team: Dmitriy Lewicki, Michael Hromek, Jordan Soriot
Artist Location: Sydney, Australia
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Artist Team: William E. Roberts, Laura Santín
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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The Solar Cairn
Artist Team: Julianne Brown, Christian Brown, Onion 3D Design
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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Electric Meadow
Artist Team: Andrea Legge, R. Murray Legge AIA, Deborah Eve Lewis, Jaime A. Castro (P.E., LEED AP, CEM, CxA S-E-A, Limited)
Artist Location: New York City, Houston & Austin TX, USA
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Artist Team: Dyani Robarge, Natalie Snyder, May Sagenes
Studio of Associate Professor, Lisa Tilder, at the Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University, Columbus
Artist Location: Columbus, OH, USA
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Art Wind Energy Unit (A.W.E.)
Artist Team: Ana Morcillo Pallares, Jonathan Rule
Artist Location: Cieza (Murcia), Spain
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Artist Team: Inki Hong, Solim Choi, Walter Sueldo (Architecture i.S)
Artist Location: Union City, USA
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Artist Team: Michael Chaveriat, Yikyu Choe, Myung Kweon Park
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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Artist Team: Elcin Ertugrul, Katherine Moya, Carlos Alegria, Joaquin Boldrini
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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Fresh Clouds
Artist Team: Thomas Kosbau, Joseph Hines, Brendan Warford, Chris Smith, Sergio Saucedo, and Blanca Eleta
Artist Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
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Solar Bloom
Artist Team: Robert Cervellione
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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Artist Team: Yijie Dang, Tom Tang
Artist Location: New York City, USA
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The Beauty of Recycling
Artist Team: Daniel Elmore
Artist Location: Cherry Hill, USA
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NAWT Balloons
Artist Team: Thomas Kelley, Carrie Norman, Sarah Jazmine Fugate
Artist Location: Chicago, USA
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Artist Team: Anna Walker
Artist Location: Asheville, USA
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Dwell Asia Magazine (September/October Issue) has a great review of The Time Is Now: Public Art of the Sustainable City. Click image for larger version.

The book is beautifully designed by Page One Publishing. It includes 51 submissions to the 2010 edition of the LAGI design competition, as well as fascinating essays written by Beth Carruthers, Michiel Van Raaij, and Reuben Andrews (with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority). It also includes a forward essay by LAGI and an opening statement by Masdar.

“And now the final beauty of this initiative is that we can explore the feasibility of implementing all the leading submissions—again creating a link between a future vision and today’s reality”

-Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar

It is now available directly from the publisher and in select retail outlets.

Click HERE for information about how to purchase your copy. Or you can now also purchase directly online through Kinokuniya Book World.

From the publisher’s description:

In 2010, the Land Art Generator Initiative held its first international design competition to explore the various facets of renewable energy’s beauty. Artists, architects, engineers and scientists from around the world worked together to design power plants that would function not only as infrastructure for clean energy production, but also as conceptually powerful works of art for the United Arab Emirates. This book presents the best of the entries, the winners of which were chosen by an international jury. The aim is to actualise public art that fulfills its societal role while pushing the boundaries of technology—progress at peace with the natural world.

In partnership with New York City Parks & Recreation the Land Art Generator Initiative held its 2012 design competition for Freshkills Park in NYC (the former Fresh Kills Landfill). On July 1st, LAGI received 250 inspiring submissions from around the world.

Please join us on Thursday, October 25, 7pm at SOHO Gallery for Digital Art in NYC for this free and open celebration.

The winning submissions will be announced!

You’ll be able to view design solutions for clean energy generating artworks that could power NYC, learn about renewable energy and infrastructure art, and meet many of the participating design teams.

Guests will also get a free copy of “A Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies”.

SOHO Gallery for Digital Art is located at: 138 Sullivan Street, NYC

New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
Institute for Urban Design
Zayed University
Council on the Arts & Humanities for Staten Island
Freshkills Park Alliance

Horne Family Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Zayed University Provost’s Research Fellowship
Private Donors


We’ve just returned from taking part in ISEA 2012 Albuquerque, the EU PVSEC panel “Photovoltaics, Forms, Landscapes”, and Sneak Peak day at Freshkills Park. Below are some photos of the beautiful day last weekend at Freshkills Park.


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