Land Art Generator can be subdivided into five main areas of focus:

  • design competitions and participatory design
  • education, outreach, and publications
  • the construction of aesthetic renewable energy infrastructure
  • providing a platform for research, development, policy innovation, and emerging clean technologies
  • consulting on creative and community-centered renewable energy integration for development projects


Theoretical Background

Art has the proven ability to create movements and stimulate creative dialogue. The artist community has long taken a critical approach to the problems of energy use and production, which has helped to open the public eye to the severity of the problems facing us. The time is now for artists to go further and take an active role in solving the problem through their own work: "solution-based art practice".

 

As we move towards our renewable energy future we should recognize the inherent differences that exist between the old and the new means of energy production and the change to built manifestations that consequently follow from this shift. When power generation facilities were adapted for the urban environment in previous eras, they necessarily responded to the aesthetic considerations of the time required of them to integrate with the fabric of the community. As the days of the gas or coal fired power plant at the farthest outskirts of the city come to a close, we will find more and more integration of energy production within the fabric of our commercial and residential communities. The need for large-scale exurban generation will always be there, but it will be augmented more and more by urban and rural micro-generation and mid-scale generation.

 

We live in a world that cross-culturally puts a high emphasis on design. As energy generation necessarily comes in closer proximity with the real estate that it powers, issues of aesthetics that drive acceptance are becoming more and more debated. A holistic approach to a renewable energy infrastructure has a place for both macro and micro-generation.

 

Macro installations in the landscape should also take care in their design to integrate with their surroundings both visually and environmentally. Micro installations should take care in their designs to integrate with the fabric of the urban community. Just as buildings and public art and land art exist as interventions in the fabric of the environment, so must power generation constructions—from our green fields to our suburbs to our downtowns—react responsibly to their role as permanent additions to our shared experience.

 

We have, on the one hand, an ever increasing drive toward designing buildings and cities to run on 100% renewable energy. The design community and city planners are moving in this direction driven by the collective will of society. On the other hand, we have technologies proliferating that are still rather utilitarian in their form such as the standard horizontal axis, three blade wind turbine. And these utilitarian forms are seeing some pushback from individual communities, especially as they come closer and closer to the city. The first warning signs of this are seen in rural mountaintop residential communities and coastal communities but this debate will only get more and more heated as the devices integrate into more dense urban environments.

 

What is needed in order to bridge the gap—between the larger desire for a renewable future and the community level negative reactions to the application of the systems required for it—is an artistic movement that can set a course towards aesthetic considerations in sustainable infrastructure.

 

Because, after all, sustainability in communities is not only about resources, it is also about cultural and social harmony.

 

 

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Selected Essays by
Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian
Land Art Generator Founding Directors

 

Return to the Source (2019)

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian

Land Art Generator Founding Co-Directors

 

Civic Art for a Circular Economy (2018)

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian

Land Art Generator Founding Co-Directors

Powering Places (2016)

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian

Land Art Generator Founding Co-Directors

 

Regenerative Infrastructures (2012)

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian

Land Art Generator Founding Co-Directors

 

Public Art of the Sustainable City (2010)

Robert Ferry & Elizabeth Monoian

Land Art Generator Founding Co-Directors

 

 

 

 

Organization Description

The Land Art Generator has become one of the world’s most followed sustainable design events and is inspiring people everywhere about the promise of a net-zero carbon future—showing how innovation through interdisciplinary collaboration, culture, and the expanding role of technology in art can help to shape the aesthetic impact of renewable energy on our constructed and natural environments.

 

We use a variety of project delivery models to arrive at context-specific design solutions, including: open call design competitions, invited competitions, commissions and RFPs, and facilitating participatory design processes within communities. From design through construction and operations, we provide project management and owner representation, leading the coordination between stakeholders, consultants, community groups, and local authorities.

 

The design brief for LAGI design competitions contains the following baseline requirements—the artwork is to capture energy from nature, cleanly convert it into electricity, and transform and transmit the electrical power. More recent competitions have expanded the brief beyond energy to include other sustainable infrastructures, including water, food, shelter, and waste. Consideration must be made for the safety of the viewing public and for the educational activities that will occur on site. The design should be constructible (rather than theoretical), and it must respect the natural ecosystem of the design sites.

 

The inaugural 2010 LAGI design competition was held for three sites in the UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) and received hundreds of submissions from over 40 countries.

 

In partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation the 2012 LAGI design competition for a site within Freshkills Park (the former Fresh Kills Landfill) received 250 submissions from around the world.

 

LAGI 2014 came to Copenhagen at an opportune moment. As the city (the European Green Capital of 2014) moves towards carbon neutral status by 2025 the debate over the aesthetic manifestation and human interaction component of our new energy infrastructure is becoming increasingly important to the planning strategies required to attain zero-carbon sustainability goals. LAGI was delighted to be an event partner of Sharing Copenhagen, the official celebration of Copenhagen’s status of 2014 European Green Capital.

 

LAGI 2016 was held in Southern California at the height of one of the worst sustained drought events in history. The design brief responded to this challenge by focusing on the energy-water nexus at a design site adjacent to the historic Santa Monica Pier. Proposals brought forward beautiful technical solutions to provide sustainable drinking water resources.

 

LAGI 2018 was held in Melbourne Australia at the invitation of the Victorian government and was included as action 13 of the Victoria State Renewable Energy Action Plan. The proposals for St Kilda Triangle in the City of Port Philip gave new life to the debate around the future of that culturally significant site.

In LAGI 2019 returned to Abu Dhabi in partnership with the 24th World Energy Congress and for a gateway site at Masdar City.

 

LAGI 2020 took place for Fly Ranch, Nevada in partnership with Burning Man Project. The outcomes will help Burning Man on its quest to create a net positive ecological and environmental impact.

 

Presenting the power plant as public artwork— simultaneously enhancing the environment, increasing livability, providing a venue for learning, and stimulating local economic development—is a way to address a variety of issues from the perspective of the ecologically concerned artist and designer. By nature of its functional utility, the work also sets itself into many other overlapping disciplines from architecture and urban design to mechanical engineering and environmental science. This interdisciplinary result has the effect of both enhancing the level of innovation and broadening the audience for the work.

 

 

The goal of the Land Art Generator 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—while providing equitable power to homes around the world.

With a mission to advance a just and equitable energy transition in response to the climate crisis, the Land Art Generator initiative (LAGi) helps design places for people that share land use with distributed renewable energy generation. Works of art in civic space distribute clean energy and provide other sustainable services to buildings and the utility grid while beautifying the built environment. We help public and private organizations meet their greatest potential as they plan, design, and implement new clean energy projects and regenerative communities. LAGi design competitions bring forward innovations in sustainable design that capture the imagination of the world. Land Art Generator co-design projects and Solar Mural installations demonstrate the benefit of applying best practices of creative placemaking, urban design, and civic art to new renewable energy projects.

 

Education is a key part of our nonprofit mission. The innovative and artful applications of sustainable technologies can spark the imaginations of young people and trigger curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math. Land Art Generator educational programming is a great example of STEM to STEAM and project-based learning. Through the process of designing their own land art generator, middle school and high school students show applied understanding of concepts like energy conversion efficiency, capacity factor, and become familiar with using kilowatt-hours. At the same time they are applying knowledge of form, shape, color, and touching on aspects of urban planning and whole systems design. These are exactly the kind of skills that researchers tell us will be important for jobs in the twenty-first century.