LAGI 2016 Award Ceremony!

Please join us for the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative Design Competition Award Ceremony!

Awards Presented by Eric Corey Freed

10:30 a.m. October 6th
Booth 2051
Los Angeles Convention Center
At Greenbuild 2016

For the duration of the expo days, an exhibition of the entire LAGI 2016 shortlist will be on display in the EXPO HALL (October 5–6).

Thanks to the LA chapter of the US Green Building Council!

Annenberg Community Beach House: LAGI 2016 Events

Join us at the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica for the LAGI 2016 exhibition.

Opening reception for the LAGI 2016 Santa Monica Exhibition
Tuesday, October 4th at 6:00 PM at the Annenberg Community Beach House
*Please RSVP by registering for FREE at the Eventbrite Page.

The event will include a roundtable discussion about our future energy and water infrastructures. The panel will including Dean Kubani (Santa Monica's Chief Sustainability Officer), Rebecca Ehemann (the founder of Green Public Art), Barry Lehrman (Cal Poly Pomina Asst. Professor of Landscape Architecture), and the LAGI directors, Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry.

A Beautiful World

A Beautiful World
Heather McElhatton
September 2, 2016

See the story! >

Seeker: Art Makes Clean Water and Energy

Art Makes Clean Water and Energy
September 9, 2016
By Glenn McDonald

"The Land Art Generator Initiative is one of our favorite things. A bi-annual design competition, LAGI encourages the construction of public art installations that also feed clean energy into the local utility grid. Previous competitions have been held in Dubai, Copenhagen and New York City.

Inspired by the California drought crisis, this year's competition in Santa Monica asked designers to incorporate a new twist — installations that also produce clean drinking water. When art meets science, interesting things always happen. Here we look at ten proposals from the 2016 LAGI competition."

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SXSW Eco 2016

Land Art Generator Initiative 2016:
Powering Places

Monday, October 10 – Wednesday, October 12
9:00AM - 6:00PM
Austin Convention Center
531 E 4th St

"Take a walk through the beautiful landscapes of our post-carbon future at the Powering Places exhibition at SXSW Eco and discover how design responses to climate change can also make our cities more vibrant and wonderful places to live. The 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition (LAGI 2016) is the fourth iteration of the biennial event that challenges creatives around the world to conceive of site-specific works of civic art that use renewable energy technologies as their medium, providing electricity and water to thousands of homes, while engaging and inspiring people."

More Here >



Salty Talk
By Heather Smith
September 8, 2016

"Making seawater drinkable has never looked so sexy."

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September 2016
We were thrilled to have the opportunity to sit on a panel with Glen Lowry and Chris Fremantle at the Petrocultures conference in St. John's Newfoundland.

Learn more about the conference here.

From the Petrocultures website:

Approximately a third of all oil and gas production takes place offshore, and this proportion is continually increasing as companies push into ever deeper and more remote locations. Oil is sought and extracted from the Arctic Ocean to the South China Sea, from Bass Strait to the Niger Delta. In addition, oil is a key commodity of seaborne trade. According to recent UN Conference on Trade and Development statistics, nearly three billion metric tons of crude oil, gas, and petroleum products are shipped annually worldwide.

Despite the fact our economies and lifestyles depend so heavily on the oil industry, much of the work and infrastructure associated with it, to say nothing of the deposits themselves, are situated out of plain sight. This relative invisibility makes the cultural imaginaries of oil, particularly deepwater offshore oil, highly powerful. Petrocultures 2016 will provide an important forum for examining such figurations, including how they relate to framings of alternative forms of energy, such as wind and tidal power.

Newfoundland and Labrador is an excellent location from which to contemplate petrocultural matters. The Canadian province is highly dependent on its offshore oil industry, and prone to the ongoing social and economic instability that typically accompanies such reliance. Given Newfoundland and Labrador’s North Atlantic geographic and geological contexts, there are also especially illuminating parallels to be drawn between its experience and that of other offshore oil-producing places in the region, such as Ireland, Scotland, and Norway.

Petrocultures 2016 will bring together scholars, policy-makers, industry employees, artists, and public advocacy groups from across North America and beyond. Confirmed Keynote Speakers include: Barbara Neis (Memorial University); Helge Ryggvik (University of Oslo); Graeme MacDonald (University of Warwick); and, Elizabeth Nyman (University of Louisiana at Lafayette).

Fast Company

Fast Company
This Solar-Powered Pipe Desalinates The Water That Flows Through It
By Adele Peters
September 2, 2016

"In a design for the Land Art Generator Initiative, a competition that calls for new energy infrastructure that looks like art, the engineers mocked up what the plant could look like off the coast of Santa Monica. The designers plan to build a prototype and prove that their technology is actually effective at desalination."

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Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network
Sun-powered desalination device transforms seawater into clean drinking water
By Matt Hickman
August 31, 2016

"You never know what kind of bold, bizarre and humanity-benefitting concepts the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) will yield.

After all, the LAGI is the force behind a biannual design competition — motto: “Renewable Energy Can Be Beautiful” — that in 2014 introduced the world to Energy Duck, a semi-terrifying, solar panel-clad bird-monster roughly the size of a tugboat.

Like in years past, LAGI 2016 aims to solicit "human-centered solutions" that marry site-specific public art with sustainable energy infrastructure. Bringing together the creative and scientific communities, LAGI fosters boundary-pushing Franken-projects that function as objects of beauty and awe while simultaneously providing cities with a source of clean energy."

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Can This Giant Orb in the Pacific Provide California with Drinkable Water?

Architectural Digest
Can This Giant Orb in the Pacific Provide California with Drinkable Water?
By Leslie Anne Wiggins
September 1, 2016

"Santa Monica, California, is the 2016 site for the Land Art Generator Initiative, a global sustainable design event now in its fourth year. Because of the state’s ongoing drought, the current competition required that proposals include a plan for drinking water production. The winners won’t be announced until next month, but one of the standout entries is from a South Korean team who designed a 131-foot-diameter glass sphere that would sit out in the Pacific, beyond the iconic Santa Monica Pier."

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The Guardian

The Guardian
Fantasy art: the future of energy and water technology
Alison Moodie
September 3, 2016

"They look like designs from the pages of a futurist’s notepad, but the concepts below are all finalists in the biennial public art contest held by the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). These ideas illustrate the possibility of marrying aesthetics with renewable energy and water technology and educate the public about the challenges of addressing climate change and feeding a growing population."

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The Inertia

The Inertia
Solar Powered Desalinization Plant Could Be The Answer to California’s Drought Disaster
By Alexander Haro
August 28, 2016

"It’s no secret that California is in the middle of a long, severe drought. It’s been five years now, and things aren’t looking like they’re going to get much better. Back in January of 2014, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency and rolled out a bunch of water-saving plans that everyone promptly pretended they were going use, then forgot all about and went back to watering their lawns. As recently as May of this year, he issued an order to continue saving water, but no one could hear him because they were inside the car wash. But despite the fact that lawns are still green and cars are still shiny in Southern California, the drought is a very real problem.

After a massive El Niño veered north and failed to drop as much rain in Southern California as expected, forecasters predicted that La Niña would show up this winter, compounding the problem. El Niño’s little sister, you see, generally means a much drier winter than normal–which is not what Southern California’s parched, cracking earth needs. But a Canadian Engineering firm might’ve come up with a beautiful solution: a desalinization plant unlike any other. Simply called “The Pipe,” it’s a solar-powered design that is capable of making over a billion gallons of fresh water from the sea."

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clear orb sculpture provides energy and drinkable water for the city of santa monica
August 29, 2016
By Nina Azzarello

"For the 2016 land art generator initiative, a team of designers from south korea has conceived ‘clear orb’ as a proposal for sustainable infrastructure in santa monica, california. the 40-meter diameter glass sphere produces fresh water from the sea, and provides energy to the city’s electrical grid.

laesik lim, ahyoung lee, jaeyeol kim, and taegu lim have designed ‘clear orb’ to appear as if it is floating on the surface of the ocean. while a translucent glass upper half refracts impressions of the surrounding landscape, the lower hemisphere’s reflective, mirror-like surface glitters in the sunlight. the installation is accessible from the santa monica pier, where a pathway subtly slopes below the surface of the water. the exterior walls of this ‘contemplation walk’ act as a wave power generator installed along the existing breakwater. the path’s interior walls are lined with a list of extinct animals, offering an opportunity to contemplate how humans might better co-exist with nature."

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Real Clear Life

Real Clear Life
Solar-Powered Ring Garden Concept Produces Drinking Water and Crops
August 29, 2016

"California may have found an ally in its struggle to preserve its water supply: the Ring Garden.

Designed by Alexandru Predonu, the Ring Garden is a rotating desalination plant and aeroponics farm that harvests seawater, solar energy, and carbon dioxide to produce clean drinking water, food crops, and biomass for animal feed. Predonu’s design was a finalist in this year’s “Land Art Generator Initiative: Santa Monica” competition, and his visually striking concept might be exactly what California needs to curb its water use; as of this writing, 80 percent of the state’s water supply goes towards agriculture."

Read More >

Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest
Is This Solar-Powered Structure the Answer to California’s Water Crisis?
By Carrie Hojnicki
August 29, 2016

"California has a host of serious issues, ranging from budget deficits to earthquakes. Yet among the more critical concerns is the state’s ever-growing water crisis. Chief among those responding to this dilemma is the Land Art Generator Initiative, whose motto says it all: “Renewable energy can be beautiful.” The Initiative hosts a biannual competition, this year focusing on harnessing clean energy to ameliorate Southern California’s drought plight. Though the winners of the 2016 competition will not be announced until October, one design is already making waves: Khalili Engineers’ The Pipe, an elegant and low-impact means of harnessing the Pacific Ocean into safe drinking water."
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solar-powered 'pipe' sculpture generates 4.5 billion liters of drinkable water from the ocean
August 25, 2016
By Nina Azzarello

"this massive solar powered pipe proposed for the 2016 land art generator initiative by khalili engineers intends to desalinate seawater into drinkable fluid. the concept — a blend of artistic, technological and architectural properties — floats off the coast of santa monica, california ‘reminding us about our dependence on water and about our need to appreciate and value this vital gift,’ the engineers describe."

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Giant gleaming Orb deploys solar and wave energy to make clean water for California

Giant gleaming Orb deploys solar and wave energy to make clean water for California
August 26, 2016
By Tafline Laylin

""The sustainable architectural culture that aspires the coexistence of human, nature and the architecture itself" is a core value of Heerim Architects and Planners in South Korea, the team behind a sparkling orb designed for Santa Monica Pier. A finalist in the biennial site-specific 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition, which promotes the uptake of energy-generating public art that informs, delights, and uplifts communities and visitors, The Clear Orb reveals a playful approach to holistic design. Using transparent luminescent solar concentrators, the installation is purportedly capable of producing up to half-a-million gallons of fresh water each year for California."

Read More >

Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California

Solar-powered Ring Garden marries desalination and agriculture for drought-stricken California
August 25, 2016
by Tafline Laylin

"With roughly 80 percent of California’s already-scarce water supply going to agriculture, it’s crucial for the state to embrace new technologies that shrink the amount of water required to grow food. Alexandru Predonu has designed an elegant solution that uses solar energy to power a rotating desalination plant and farm that not only produces clean drinking water for the city of Santa Monica, but also food crops – including algae. A finalist of this year’s Land Art Generator Initiative competition, a site-specific biennial design competition that has inspired world-renowned designs like The Pipe and Energy Duck, Ring Garden is capable of churning out 16 million gallons of clean water, 40,000 pounds of aeroponic crops, and 11,000 pounds of spirulina biomass for livestock feed."

Read More >

The Independent

The Independent
The solar-powered sculpture that could desalinate 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California
August 24, 2016
By Tim Walker

"Is it public art, or is it a power station? This shimmering design for “The Pipe”, a finalist in the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), is intended to blur the lines between the two. Imagined here as a floating installation off the coast of Santa Monica, California, the Pipe is an electromagnetic desalination device, powered by the sun. It also looks great on the horizon."
Read More >

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California
August 23, 2016
By Tafline Laylin

"The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water need not blight the landscape. The Pipe is one example of how producing energy can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. One of the finalists of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the design deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean."
Read More >

Public Art to Generate Green Power

XXI Architecture and Design Magazine
Public Art to Generate Green Power
August 12, 2016

"Conceived by Dalziel + Scullion, Qmulus Ltd., Yeadon Space Agency, and ZM Architecture, Wind Forest is a permanent public art installation that uses an innovative form of wind power to generate enough electricity for approximately 300 dwellings.

The project will be an important part of the new mixed-use development currently being planned for 100 Acre Hill (also known as Dundas Hill) in Glasgow, Scotland. Beyond Glasgow, the project also resonates with issues connected with the reinvention of urban brownfield sites throughout multiple global post-industrial cities. The proposal has won the LAGI (the Land Art Generator Initiative) Glasgow international design competition that challenged participants to bring creative solutions for a clean energy infrastructure to a brownfield site. Wind Forest aims to transform the post-industrial landscape of 100 Acre Hill, with an enriched infrastructure that is based on ideas around technology, landscape and context. On the site, groves of bladeless wind turbines with different spatial, sensory and environmental qualities are planned. Hence, Wind Forest mimics the activity of a forest by absorbing energy from the passing wind, and distributing it to its diverse and connected community ecosystem.

Wind Forest works with the physical landscape of 100 Acre Hill, upon which one hundred 4 kW single stem-like wind turbines will be planted. A revolution in wind energy design, these stems have no blades, have no gears or bearings, are noiseless, and do not present a hazard to birds. Instead, they generate electricity by oscillating, resulting in reduced maintenance costs, reduced manufacturing costs, reduced transportation costs, and smaller foundations."

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Bustler: The “techno-boreal” Wind Forest Wins the LAGI Glasgow Competition

The “techno-boreal” Wind Forest Wins the LAGI Glasgow Competition
Jul 28, 2016
By Justine Testado

"The Land Art Generator Initiative competition proves once again that clean-energy design can be pleasing to the eyes. The LAGI competition challenges inter-disciplinary design teams to propose permanent public art installations that are equipped with the latest technological innovations in sustainable energy. Following successful competitions in Copenhagen, Dubai, and New York, the 2016 site was a new mixed-use development currently planned for Dundas Hill (or 100 Acre Hill), a post-industrial brownsite in Glasgow.

When it comes to wind energy, most people imagine rows of spinning wind turbines you'd typically find in the middle of a vast desert or a field. A team comprising of Peter Foster Richardson (ZM Architecture), Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion (Dalziel + Scullion), Ian Nicoll (Qmulus Ltd.), and Peter Yeadon (Yeadon Space Agency) created their own version of the wind turbine with their proposal, “Wind Forest”, which was selected as the winning commission. The other top-winning proposals were “Watergaw” and “Dundas Dandelions”."

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Presentation in San Antonio on July 19, 2016

We will be speaking in San Antonio on the Aesthetics of Renewable Energy on July 19, 2016 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm at the Center for Architecture, 1344 South Flores, San Antonio, TX 78204. The event is co-sponsored by the Land Heritage Institute and the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce. Made possible through support from the Texas Commission on the Arts.

There is a nice article in the San Antonio Current, and don't miss reading this great piece by Penelope Boyer, who has coordinate the event, in the Rivard Report.

The New American Patriot: Climate Art in the Public Interest

Land Art Generator Initiative public art proposals will be on display at The Box Gallery as a part of The New American Patriot: Climate Art in the Public Interest. Thanks to Mary Jo Aagerstoun for including us in the exhibition.

Opening Reception
Friday, July 1, 2016 | 7 p.m.
The Box Gallery
811b- Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405

The Box Gallery located at 811b Belvedere Road presents The New American Patriot: Climate Art in the Public Interest Exhibition. This exhibition brings together some of the most powerful artists and artists organizations creating "Art in the Public Interest." The exhibition is nation-wide artist response to climate change in a wide variety of approaches from visual witticisms and colorful installations, to some very sobering documentary pieces.

The American Patriot celebrates and includes the work of Hot Posse, The Yes Men, Annie Sprinkle, Steve Lambert, Rolando Chang Barrero, Tim Collins and Reiko Goto, The Center for Creative Activism, Aviva Rahmani, Overpass Light Brigade, The Climate Action Coalition, Xavier Cortada, Dana Donaty, Birds are Nice, Craig McInnis, Nadia Utto, Bethany Taylor, Roseanne Truxes Livingston, David Peck, Elizabeth Reed, Lloyd Goradesky, The Post Carbon Institute, Mary Jo Aagerstoun, Jesse Etelson, Shawn Robbins, Jerry Lind, Jan Booher, Lane Hall, Joe Brusky, Kim Heise, Marika Stone, Sarah Younger, and others...
7:30 Spoken Performance by Marika Stone.

LAGI Glasgow showcases new energy art designs along Scotland’s canal banks

LAGI Glasgow showcases new energy art designs along Scotland’s canal banks
June 9, 2016
by Cat DiStasio

"In its latest effort to showcase clean energy projects, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) has announced a new exhibition at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, Scotland. On display at LAGI Glasgow will be a series of designs for a proposed renewable energy project targeted for the banks of two intersecting canals in the city in the Port Dundas area. The creations were developed collaboratively by agencies in Scotland as well as from other countries, demonstrating something of a global partnership in support of renewable energy projects—with a certain aesthetic flair, of course."
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Green Tease: Land Art Generator Initiative

Green Tease: Land Art Generator Initiative
Where: The Lighthouse, Galleries 4 and 5, Glasgow Scotland
When: June 29, 2016 from 6–7:30 PM

What would a renewable energy project for Glasgow look like if the design process was led by artists, architects, landscape architects, and urban planners, working in collaboration with engineers?

Over the past ten months, three interdisciplinary design teams have worked together on proposals for a new renewable energy generation site in Port Dundas, Glasgow in association with the internationally acclaimed Land Art Generator Initiative. The teams have included artists Alec Finlay, Dalziel + Scullion and public art agency Pidgin Perfect.

Coinciding with an exhibition of the resulting designs at the Lighthouse, you are invited to join Creative Carbon Scotland and partners from Land Art Generator Initiative Glasgow — Chris Fremantle (eco/art/scotland) and Heather Claridge (Glasgow City Council) – for a discussion of the role of creative processes in the development of renewable energy infrastructure in Glasgow.

As part of the ongoing Green Tease series, this event will focus on the potential for collaborative working between cultural and sustainability sectors to affect a wider transition to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland.

You can find out more about the LAGI Glasgow project and partners here.

The event will begin with a viewing of the LAGI Glasgow exhibition in Galleries 4 and 5 of the Lighthouse (from 5:30 – 6pm) followed by a facilitated by a talk and discussion with refreshments provided (6 – 7:30pm).

‘Windforest’ plan wins out in Port Dundas energy competition

Urban Realm
‘Windforest’ plan wins out in Port Dundas energy competition
May 31, 2016

"Situated on Dundashill, an area prioritised for regeneration by Glasgow City Council, the submission features a cluster of 13m tall wind turbines capable of generating electricity through oscillation and was one of three shortlisted schemes to be conceived in collaboration between artists, architects, engineers, scientists, landscape architects and urban planners."
Read More >

‘Windforest’ plan wins out in Port Dundas energy competition

Urban Realm
‘Windforest’ plan wins out in Port Dundas energy competition
May 31, 2016

"Situated on Dundashill, an area prioritised for regeneration by Glasgow City Council, the submission features a cluster of 13m tall wind turbines capable of generating electricity through oscillation and was one of three shortlisted schemes to be conceived in collaboration between artists, architects, engineers, scientists, landscape architects and urban planners."
Read More >

Las Vegas Weekly

Las Vegas Weekly
By Kristen Peterson
June 2, 2016

"While sharing a bottle of wine and overlooking the indoor ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian mapped out a plan for clean energy in the realm of public art. Both Carnegie Mellon University grads, Ferry, an architect, and Monoian, then an art and design professor at Dubai’s Zayed University, focused on site-specific projects that would bring together artists, architects, scientists and engineers to find aesthetic alternatives in harvesting clean energy. Four international biennial competitions later (Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2010, Copenhagen in 2012, New York City in 2014 and Santa Monica in 2016) and operating as the Land Art Generator Initiative, they’ve turned their attention to Las Vegas as a potential site for 2018."

Read More >

Plans to create electricity for Glasgow

Glasgow Live
May 30, 2016
Plans to create electricity for Glasgow using rainbows and a massive dandelion, in Land Art Generator Initiative

The three designs aim to create pieces of urban art that also generate electricity.
Proposals which would see electricity generated for the city using pieces of urban art have been drawn up.
The designs, which include a water turbine that generates rainbows and a huge dandelion, have been created for the Landscape Art Generator Initiative. They will be going on display for public viewing at the Lighthouse in Glasgow next month.
The three designs aim to create pieces of urban art that also generate electricity.
One design put forward is called the Dundas Dandelions and is intended to be placed at Dundas Hill overlooking the city and adjacent to the motorway.

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The Scotsman: Designs for Urban Site Harness Power of Art

The Scotsman
Designs for Urban Site Harness Power of Art
May 29, 2016
By Alison Campsie

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LAGI Glasgow Exhibition at The Lighthouse

LAGI Glasgow Exhibition
The Lighthouse
Glasgow, Scotland
Opens: 9 June
Closes: 29 July 2016

The LAGI Glasgow exhibition showcases the outcomes of the invited design competition for Port Dundas that brings creative solutions for clean energy infrastructure to the brownfield site—the perfect project to combine the sustainable, creative and pioneering vision of Glasgow’s Canal Regeneration Partnership and link in to Glasgow’s response to Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Energy policy and infrastructure have become critical areas of debate and activism. Scotland has world leading targets for transitioning to renewables as well as conflicting views about land management and ownership and challenges in integrating renewables in to landscapes and communities.

The Land Art Generator Initiative addresses these challenges by involving artists, designers, architects, urban planners and landscape architects in envisaging utility scale renewable energy installations. Bringing together the issues of placemaking with those of renewable energy is a game-changing approach to regeneration.

Three Glasgow creative practices collaborated with international designers to arrive at the proposals on display in the exhibition. Each incorporates renewable energy technologies as the media for the creation of park-like spaces that are integrated into the fabric of the new mixed-use development currently being planned for Dundas Hill. Visitors will be inspired to learn about creative ways to harness the power of natural energies to power our post-carbon economies while enhancing the beauty of our cities and landscapes.

The exhibition also includes outcomes of past LAGI projects for Dubai/Abu Dhabi, New York City, and Copenhagen.

LAGI Testimonial for the CA State Senate, Joint Committee on the Arts

Joint Committee on the Arts
Senator Ben Allen, Chair
Assembly Member Kansen Chu, Vice Chair

Informational Hearing: “California’s Creative Economy: Annual Update and Regional Breakdowns”
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, 1:30 p.m.
State Capitol, Room 3191, Sacramento, CA 95814

Elizabeth Monoian (LAGI Co-Director) gave the below testimonial:

Good afternoon Senate and Assembly members of the Joint Committee of the Arts. Thank you for providing this opportunity to speak to you about my experience working in California’s Creative Economy.

The Land Art Generator Initiative has created a platform to re-imagine our future energy landscapes through a creative lens. Inviting interdisciplinary teams around the world to conceive of large-scale public artworks that have the added benefit of producing clean energy at a utility-scale.
In addition to a wide-range of programming we hold an international design competition on a biennial schedule:

Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2010, New York City in 2012, and in 2014 the site was an old shipyard visible from the Little Mermaid in the Copenhagen Harbor—all sites that inherently inspire and bring the greatest minds around the world to the table with the idea that renewable energy infrastructure can also be an enhancement to public space—that cities can meet ambitious carbon goals while creating new and exciting places for recreation and learning.

The outcomes of these past design competitions show that we can begin to think about renewable energy installations as more than just utilitarian objects. *And that by doing so, we can drive innovation and spark imaginations. Inspired by the way grass blades wave in the wind, Windstalk from LAGI 2010 can generate electricity for more than 1,000 homes without rotating turbine blades.

A number of things attracted us to bring LAGI to Southern California in 2016. We knew that renewable energy is a top priority in California. That, paired with the seriousness of the drought led us to choose a coastal site adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier and to expand our design brief to include drinking water harvesting technologies. The City of Santa Monica is a great partner to the project and the site is inspiring the world to imagine what our renewable energy and sustainable water future can aspire to be in its constructed form. *The competition closes in four days and in October we will announce the winning design at Greenbuild 2016 at the LA Convention Center and at an exhibition in Santa Monica.

For every competition we create unique educational materials like our Field Guide to Renewable Energy Technologies, Art+Energy Flash Cards, and others. Last year we launched a Youth Prize for middle school and high school students, with the intention of building a global community of young people equipped to design our energy landscapes. We were thrilled when we were invited to speak by the Museum of Art & History (MOAH) to the School Board meeting in the Antelope Valley of California, and overwhelmed by the reception we received. Donita Winn the Chair of the School Board, declared that the Antelope Valley was going to win! She took this seriously and reached out to the high schools throughout the valley encouraging them to participate. MOAH helped coordinate workshops, presentations, and meetings with many area schools.

The Creative Economy is what results when public policy is put in place to nurture a social environment ripe for innovation and cross-disciplinary collaboration. This requires expanding public access to the arts and humanities and increasing opportunities for education that does not forsake art and creativity for a focus on math and science. Within the context of the work that we do, they all should exist together in a continuum of research and practice.

Science and technology provides the framework for the artistic and educational practice of the Land Art Generator Initiative. At the same time we are closing the loop on the art-science continuum as the design outcomes of LAGI influence the way that scientists and engineers see their work.

Biologist E.O. Wilson in The Meaning of Human Existence(1) makes a point about what is our most important possession as a species and concludes that it is the humanities rather than our scientific achievements. In fact, the sciences need the humanities in order to continue to advance. In the search for breakthroughs, scientific teams are expanding and becoming more academically diverse. Further advances in biotechnology, nanotechnology, robotics, and energy science will all require creative thinking and a strong ethical foundation to ensure that they are aligned with our cultural values. This requires that the scientists of tomorrow find their education steeped deeply in the arts and humanities today.

The Land Art Generator Initiative is founded on this notion. To that end we provide project-based learning through programs like our Art+Energy Camps. The Camps provide participating youth with critical skills in STEAM subjects by implementing the design/engineering process for innovative solutions and built outcomes that provide sustainable energy to communities.

Providing STEM education to middle school and high school youth using the ARTS as the delivery vehicle is an engaging way to instill an early interest in the scientific method, provide useful technical skills, and introduce systems thinking. These are the types of skills that can help youth create positive change in their own neighborhoods and put them on a path toward innovative and fulfilling careers.

We held our first Art+Energy Camp in 2015 in Pittsburgh and this summer we are thrilled to be working closely with the Museum of Art+History in Lancaster, CA to bring this programming to youth in the Antelope Valley. Through the course of 4-weeks the 2016 LAGI Art+Energy Camp will provide youth with an education in energy science, climate science, art, design, and solar power. Youth will follow the design process to arrive at a pragmatic solution for a work of public art that generates clean energy utilizing solar panels for a roundabout in Lancaster, CA.

According to a recent report highlighted by the World Economic Forum(2), as automation continues to change the workplace, the highest valued skills are increasingly dominated by creativity, critical thinking, complex problem solving, cognitive flexibility, and emotional intelligence—all qualities that require the arts to be integrally interwoven into the fabric of our lives.

We are fortunate to be working in California, a state where this important conversation is being taken very seriously. Thank you all for the work that you are doing to increase support for the arts to the benefit of people and economic progress. We look forward to future projects in this State and to the opportunity to construct many of the design ideas you saw here today so that they can contribute to California’s renewable energy portfolio while attracting people from around the world to these new civic art inventions.


LAGI Founding Co-Directors, Elizabeth Monoian & Robert Ferry


We were thrilled to be included at Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum a year ago. They are now checking in with Global Learning Forum alumni in a series called “The Front Line of Energy” to find out what’s shifted in their work over the past year and to hear their thoughts on the future of energy.

You can follow this link to see the interviews. Read >

Robert Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian are the Founding Directors of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), which works to address the issue of public acceptance of localized renewable energy infrastructures by providing models of energy generation architecture that rise to the level of contemporary public art. Every two years LAGI holds an international design competition, which has thus far been held in Dubai, New York City, and Copenhagen, and is coming to Los Angeles in 2016.

Robert and Elizabeth believe that renewables are beautiful. Their passion was on full display at our Global Learning Forum where they delivered a compelling PechaKucha presentation, a gallery of leading energy-generating art concepts from their competitions, and a session called, “Aesthetics, integration, and building support for urban renewables.”

How did participating in the Global Learning Forum impact your work?

“For us, one of the biggest benefits was participating in the PechaKucha night. It allowed us to speak to a broad audience that included policy makers, mayors, and renewable energy developers. People then recognized us for the next two days of the Forum and engaged us in dialogue—new people were opening up to us. Shortly thereafter, we did another PechaKucha in Pittsburgh!”

What’s happened in your work over the last year?

“We’re proud to say that we’ve been awarded the J.M.K. Innovation Prize [the award supports social entrepreneurs across the United States who are spearheading game-changing solutions to our society’s most urgent challenges.], which has allowed us to solidify our organizational structure.

We are expanding greatly beyond our biennial design competitions. For example, we are currently in the process of working with a fashion designer to pilot wearable renewable electricity-generating technology with a Maasai community in Kenya. It’s a co-design process that will create a line of bespoke jewelry and other products with embedded solar. The designs will improve the livelihoods of the Maasai people and bring sustainable income to the Olorgasailie Maasai Women Artisans collective.

Our second Art+Energy Camp targeting low-income neighbourhoods will be taking place in Lancaster, California, and is modeled after our successful 2015 program in Pittsburgh. We are creating opportunities for young people to learn about the design of energy infrastructure and its impact on our landscape and environment. Following tours of nuclear and coal plants, a variety of renewable energy installations, and lessons about energy science and art outside the gallery, the students will take part in the design of a 5 kWh solar energy-generating public artwork that will help power a local community centre. The students have all been very engaged and a part of every meeting—with fabricators to engineers to solar installers.”

This year, our biennial design competition is taking place at a coastal site adjacent to the historic Santa Monica Pier. This offers teams the opportunity to design with wave and tidal, in addition to wind, solar, and other renewable energy technologies. The award event will take place at Greenbuild 2016 in Los Angeles in October.

In 2015, we worked with the City of Glasgow to put together a design brief and hold a competition to create a renewable energy-generating sculpture at a brownfield site as a part of a Scottish Canals regeneration project. The idea is to use the natural energies at a site as a form generator, creating a public park and infrastructural artwork that will be the cornerstone of the developer’s master plan. Three local practices—architects, artists, and energy scientists—were paired with a past biennial participant in an invited competition. The exhibition is taking place at the Lighthouse in Glasgow, opening on June 9, 2016.”

What have been some of the biggest developments and trends in renewable energy over this past year?

“For one, the number of renewable energy installations is outpacing conventional fossil fuels. The renewable energy shift is already occurring and the prices are dropping exponentially in the marketplace. The trend lines are amazing!”

How has this affected your work?

“In the design world, the cost of solar panels per square foot is now on par with any other type of high-performance exterior material. When design is done properly from the concept stage, there is no excuse not to incorporate RE, particularly with photovoltaics. While we’ve seen a lot of companies come and go, certain markets are getting more traction and we’re optimistic. We’re at the beginning of an explosion of opportunities, especially with flexible and thin materials with roll rooftop applications coming online.”

What are the next big issues to watch?

”We are concerned with the social impacts of some large renewable energy projects that can displace people—for example, centralized energy projects cutting off grazing land for the Maasai people of Kenya and Tanzania. The utility-scale electricity is going to the national grid to feed Nairobi and large industry, with nothing going back to the people whose lives are disrupted. They derive no economic or social benefit. We hope that renewable energy infrastructure planning can be proactively a part of solutions to socioeconomic issues as well as environmental issues. With the capital costs of installations going down, there is an opportunity for large projects to share the benefits. Likewise, decentralized renewable energy and energy cooperatives can provide energy justice solutions while increasing resiliency.”

LAGI at University of Warwick

LAGI Directors Elizabeth Monoian & Robert Ferry will be speaking at the University of Warwick
WHEN: Tuesday, 7 June 2016 from 12:30 to 14:30
WHERE: The University of Warwick (Room MS.04 Zeeman Building), Coventry, United Kingdom

Balance-Unbalance 2016

LAGI's Co-Director Robert Ferry will be a Keynote Speaker
BunB 2016: “Data Science + Eco Action
Manizales, Colombia
May 11, 2016

BunB 2016: Data Science + Eco Action
"How can we extract knowledge from large volumes of environmental and related data? How that can be used in benefit of the human society? What should we change in our thinking and in our behaviour? Individual vs community vs global: What matters? Why big or complex data is so relevant to our daily life? How the capture, analysis, curation, sharing, storage… and control of large data could rapidly change our world? What positive sides does it have? What not so positive, and even risks does it have? What data science has to do with humanitarian organizations? And with electronic art?

We want to inspire explorations of how artists can participate in this major challenge of our ecological crisis. We need to use creative tools and transdisciplinary action to create perceptual, intellectual and pragmatic changes. We want to discuss our proposals for the future from a diversity of cultural perspectives and socio-economic situations with open minds."

More here >

LAGI Lecture at Arizona State University

LAGI Directors Elizabeth Monoian & Robert Ferry
The Aesthetic Influence of Renewable Energy Infrastructures on Public Space
School of Arts, Media and Engineering: Digital Culture Speaker Series
Arizona State University
April 21, 2016 3:00

More here >

Starting from the assumption that a transition to 100% renewable energy will happen over the coming generations (and no time too soon), we will inevitably begin to see a greater proliferation of clean energy generation infrastructures within urban and suburban environments. Embracing this fact, the time is now to proactively address the influence of these new machines on city planning, urban design, zoning ordinances, and building codes. When envisioning cities of the future, we would like to imagine potential futures in which the aesthetic influence of clean energy technologies has been intentionally designed into a well-planned city, rather than a future in which utilitarian devices have been affixed to surfaces as an afterthought.

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is leading the global conversation on the shifting aesthetics of sustainable infrastructure. Recent trends in public acceptance of renewable energy have shown that resistance to a transition from fossil fuel dependence often takes refuge in arguments that hinge on questions of aesthetics. Meanwhile, the “gloom and doom” narrative of climate activism (rising sea levels, increasing storm intensities, corral bleaching, mass extinction, desertification), while based in scientific fact, can sometimes be polarizing to effective political change.

By presenting examples of utility-scale renewable energy infrastructures as public art, LAGI is helping to inspire the general public about the beauty of our sustainable future, and showing policy makers and city planners that net-positive energy installations can be placemaking tools, economic development drivers, and educational venues while they help to power the grid.

The presentation will show how interdisciplinary collaboration is playing an important role in defining the design influence of renewable energy on our constructed environments and point out the reciprocal role of society in defining the aesthetics of renewable energy infrastructure itself.

LAGI Lecture at Solar City

LAGI Directors Elizabeth Monoian & Robert Ferry
Speaking on the Aesthetics of Renewable Energy
April 19, 1:00
Solar City
6569 Las Vegas Blvd, Suite 200
Las Vegas, Nevada

A Vision of Clean Energy Public Art: LAGI Visits Las Vegas

Huffington Post
A Vision of Clean Energy Public Art: LAGI Visits Las Vegas
April 14, 2016
by JK Russ
"Rows of elevated solar panels rise up from the cacti garden in front of the new Las Vegas City Hall. At night the harnessed solar energy lights up a blue-toned electronic display on glass fins across the building’s façade. It’s the perfect venue for a presentation on the intersection of renewable energy and art by internationally renowned Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI)." Read More >

LAGI Lecture in Kampala Uganda

LAGI Directors will be presenting to students and faculty of Makerere University in Kampala Uganda.
Date: March 10, 2016
Time: 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Location: Makerere University, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology