Anthropocene Art That Delivers Clean Water & Power
An international competition challenges designers to show that clean energy production and dazzling public art can be one and the same
"Since 2010, the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) has sponsored site-specific design competitions, soliciting ideas for public art that generates clean power. Its 2016 contest was the most ambitious yet. It called on designers to conceive of art installations that generate both clean power and water for the city of Santa Monica, California.
“Now, more than ever, energy and water are intertwined,” notes the organization. “As California faces severe water shortages in the coming years, the amount of energy required for water production and transmission is sure to increase.”
The contest’s coastal setting allowed designers to harness not only solar and wind power, but also wave and tidal energy. Its proximity to the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility provided the opportunity for integration with existing city infrastructure. Further, note the contest organizers, “we can challenge those who would disapprove of these important infrastructures on aesthetic grounds, especially at sites that are cherished for their cultural value and identity (like the Santa Monica Pier Breakwater).”
Here we present highlights from the competition. Learn more about the contest and the entries here and in Powering Places: Land Art Generator Initiative, Santa Monica."
"Sails are one of the earliest ways humans seized the power of wind — people were using them to move boats across the sea even before the Middle Ages.
A new design aims to apply that ancient technology to modern environmental challenges.
Regatta H2O: Familiar Form, Chameleon Infrastructure is the winner of a site-specific environmental competition called the Land Art Generator Initiative. The design proposes to repurpose the iconic maritime shape to harvest clean water in addition to wind.
Regatta H2O — which was named the first place winner on October 6 — features a set of 44 sails made of a high-tech fog-harvesting mesh material. The sails would stand alone in the ocean (no boats necessary), where air is moist and fog is common. Veins in the sails' surfaces would serve as moisture collection troughs, funneling the collected water to a central mast, which would in turn pump the liquid to a set of storage vessels on the shore."
"California has a serious water problem. In 2016, the state marked the fifth consecutive year of severe drought. Though the headlines have faded, the issue has not, and one group is putting it on full artistic display.
Land Art Generator Initiative, an organization dedicated to spark conversation, inspire, and educate the public through design, held its biennial ideas competition in Santa Monica, California, on October 6. The designs, submitted by artists from all over the word, must consist of a three-dimensional sculptural form that stimulates the viewer, generates clean energy and/or drinking water, and demonstrates a pragmatic approach. Designs— not to exceed 80 meters in height—must adhere to the constraints of the location plan and site boundary, must be safe for audiences to view, and must not create greenhouse emissions or pollution." Read More >
As cities look to incorporate sustainable technologies into their infrastructure, a design competition is challenging artists and architects to create artwork that can both generate renewable energy and enlighten the public on environmental issues.
The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) has announced the winners for the 2016 Santa Monica competition. Drawing on technologies from fog harvesting to wave energy and transparent solar cells, the proposed installations would generate either renewable energy or drinking water for drought-stricken California. These "civic artworks" would be located "at the breakwater adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier" and are designed to inspire and educate the public on clean energy, the environment, and water issues.
If you're in Southern California, tune in to 89.3 FM at 10 a.m. on October 6 to hear LAGI Directors, Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, talk about the LAGI 2016 winners on Take Two with co-host Alex Cohen.
Regatta H2O, as the sculpture is called, is the winner of a contest sponsored by The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), an organization whose goal is to “accelerate the transition to post-carbon economies by providing models of renewable energy infrastructure that add value to public space, inspire, and educate.” Since 2010, they’ve been hosting a biannual contest for artists to create public art that’s beautiful and generates green energy. Previous years have seen the contest in places like Dubai and Copenhagen; this year’s was held in Santa Monica, California, a part of the world deeply affected by climate change-driven drought.
Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry, LAGI’s founders, say Regatta H2O, from Tokyo-based designers Christopher Sjoberg and Ryo Saito, stood out above the pack for using the “specific contextual features” of its Santa Monica Bay site in its design.
“By addressing the challenge of water infrastructure and recognizing that water and energy are inextricably intertwined, especially in California, the proposal has the potential to serve as a beautiful and consistent reminder of water's importance to Santa Monica residents and visitors,” they say, in a statement written to Smithsonian. “The artwork is also ephemeral. It almost seems to disappear when the conditions are not right for fog harvesting. As a consequence, the artwork does not compete with the natural beauty of the bay and could be a welcome addition to such an historic and cherished landscape.”
"Romanian architect Alexandru Predenu aims to supply fresh water and locally grown food to Santa Monica with an exciting new aeroponic farm and seawater desalination plant combination. Yes, there’s an abundance of fresh food available in California, the warm climate is perfect for year around crops. However, most of it is grown using water-hungry conventional farming methods. Obviously, in a drought-stricken state with a naturally dry climate, major changes are needed. Especially when agriculture is responsible for 80% of the water usage. The Ring Garden offers some interesting solutions.
A finalist of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative competition, Predenu’s design marries sustainable food production with a renewable source of drinking water for the City of Santa Monica. But it’s bigger than that. The aeroponic farm produces food for humans, farm animals, and it’s own energy… simultaneously. All of the structure’s functions run on solar power through photovoltaic panel collection, and energy created in algae bioreactors. It also harvests CO2."
"If we told you a power plant was being built off the coast of Santa Monica, mere yards from the Santa Monica Pier, you'd think Santa Monica leaders had lost their minds. But what if that power plant was also designed as a public art piece?
That’s the goal of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative, says the Santa Monica Lookout. The competition not only puts a focus on creating new forms of sustainable energy, it also challenges designers to add some artistry to the normally drab and foreboding appearance of power plants." Read More >
The article includes more information from an interview with Aziz Khalili, one of the engineers on the design team along with Puya Kalili, Laleh Javaheri, Iman Khalili, and Kathy Kiany (Khalili Engineers).
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.
"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."
Land Art Generator Initiative 2016:
Powering Places Exhibition
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."
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).
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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." Read More >
"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."
""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."
"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."
"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 >
"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 >
"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."
"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”."
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 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.
"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." More >
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).
"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 >