To the attention of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretary General Christiana Figueres and the Mission Innovation initiative spearheaded by Bill Gates and 20 Global Leaders:

(on the occasion of Day 2: Innovation in Action of the COP 21 Sustainable Innovation Forum)

Since 2010, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) has been inspiring the world with a new vision for the design of our clean energy future. The goal is to design and construct public art installations that have the added benefit of utility-scale clean energy generation, with each sculpture providing power to thousands of homes. We have amassed a network of thousands of professionals around the world and across disciplines from art, architecture, renewable energy science, engineering, and land use planning to proactively address the visual impact of post-carbon infrastructures on the constructed and natural environments.

As the winner of the 2014 LAGI design competition for Copenhagen shows us, we can make our cities more beautiful and sustainable at the same time. Let’s take this opportunity and the momentum of COP 21 Paris to create new economic development engines for our cities, centered around landmark works of public art that declare their commitment to a low carbon future, while actually serving to offset their reliance on carbon infrastructures and educating the public about new clean technologies.

As Connie Hedegaard, former EU Commissioner for Climate Action, puts it so eloquently in her statement on LAGI 2014 (video below), we need to move past the “doom and gloom” messaging of climate science and give people a positive vision that moves them to want to live in a 100% renewable energy world.

We would therefore like to propose a global design competition between the 20 participating Mission Innovation countries to design and construct the most visually inspiring, conceptually profound, and technologically innovative work of public art that also serves as functional clean energy infrastructure (each with a nameplate capacity of at least 5 MWp). As a part of COP 26 in 2020, the winning design will be announced and the technological innovation(s) behind it made public.

LAGI 2020 COP 26 will be a natural progression for the LAGI biennial design competitions and will result in the construction of real net-zero energy infrastructure in twenty destination art sites (urban or rural) with combined annual capacity of approximately 140,000 MWh or offsetting the energy needs of 20,000 homes.

The artworks themselves will give each host country a sense of pride to go along with their strengthened commitment to GHG reduction goals and will offer a powerful way for the UNFCCC and Mission Innovation to communicate progress and the outcomes of the negotiations process.

Art has the power to speak directly to the hearts of people and create a momentum for political will to action. For decades the environmental art movement has presented powerful messages that have opened people’s eyes to the severity of climate change. With a progression from Kyoto to COP 15, artist engagement with UN Climate negotiations has been consistently expanding. ArtCOP21 has had the greatest impact yet, with coordinated efforts by organizations such as COAL, Cape Farewell, Carbon Arts, the Center for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, and dozens of other institutions.

The time is now to also give creatives the opportunity to have a direct influence on the very infrastructures that are needed to solve the problem. Twenty ambitious solution-based art-as-infrastructure installations can set the stage for the next 100 years of cultural and technological evolution and point the way to a 100% renewable world.

The Land Art Generator Initiative is offering to manage (not-for-profit) the entire competition process turnkey on behalf of all project partners, including competition management, design management, and construction management. All that we ask is for the cooperation of the UNFCCC and the dedication of the 20 participating Mission Innovation countries to deliver their innovative and visually engaging infrastructures in time for COP 26 2020.

Thanks for the work you do on behalf of the climate.

Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry
LAGI Co-Directors

Download the PDF

P.S. For more examples of how beautiful and inspiring our renewable energy infrastructures can be, see the examples below and our complete online portfolio of past LAGI design competition submissions.