Glasgow and the Art of Clean Energy
By Dalia Awad
"Once a hub for heavy industry, the site known as Dundas Hill in Port Dundas, less than two miles from Glasgow city centre, still retains hallmarks of a manufacturing neighborhood. While the canals and locks surrounding the area are rarely used today, the architecture of a bygone age remains prominent – warehouses, factories and defunct chimneys dot the landscape, severed from the rest of the city by M8 motorway. However, behind these fading facades, a new breed of eager Glaswegian makers are breathing life back into the area, building upon its heritage.
Inside the Whisky Bond – a co-working space established on the site of a former distillery – artists and makers can take advantage of 3D printers and CNC machines to create their craft, while digital agencies and graphic designers rent offices in the upper floors. Up the road, at the Glue Factory, independent artists and performers showcase their latest creations in another former industrial site. Currently empty spaces surrounding the north Canal and Speirs Wharf are in negotiation to be redeveloped as student housing and, on an unassuming brownfield site, where another former whisky distillery once lay, Glasgow is soon to be home to the Wind Forest – a public art project comprised of 100 stem-like structures which are in fact bladeless wind turbines.
The winning design of a year-long competition by Land Art Generator Initiative’s (LAGI) Glasgow chapter, in collaboration with EcoArtsScotland, the Wind Forest will be implemented as part of the Glasgow Canal Regeneration Partnership – a private-public-partnership designed to revitalize the area within which Dundas Hill falls, and largely the catalyst behind the larger area’s recent resurgence as a creative hub.Founded in 2010, LAGI’s main aim is to inspire clean energy generation through aesthetically pleasing installations, proving that art and engineering professionals can not only coexist, but co-create innovatively.
“Art is a way to confront ecological problems,” says LAGI co-founder Robert Ferry, stating that he and his founding partner were inspired by American land art and how infrastructure can . “Science has always been grappling with a communication problem. Art in public spaces can solve that. It lets people run into ideas they weren’t planning to think about.”"