811b- Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405
The New American Patriot: Climate Art in the public Interest
Friday, July 1, 2016 | 7 p.m.
Friday, July 1, 2016 | 7 p.m.
Land Art Generator Initiative at The Box Gallery
The New American Patriot: Climate Art in the Public Interest
811b- Belvedere Road
West Palm Beach, Florida 33405
The goal of the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) is to design and construct
public art installations that have the added benefit of utility-scale renewable
power generation. The sculptures continuously distribute clean energy into the
electrical grid, with each having the potential to provide power to hundreds or
even thousands of homes.
As the world works together to meet the targets of the Paris Climate Accord, the
visual impact of renewable energy infrastructures, such as wind farms and solar
arrays, is becoming more hotly debated. LAGI is working to provide site-specific
solutions for cherished places in cities and countrysides where mass-produced,
utilitarian infrastructures may be unfitting. In doing so, we can inspire people
about the beauty of our post-carbon future and engage local communities in the
generation of culturally relevant energy solutions.
Presenting the power plant as public artwork—simultaneously enhancing the
environment, increasing livability, providing a venue for STEAM learning, and
stimulating local economic development—is a way to address a variety of social
and environmental issues.
By nature of their functional utility, LAGI civic artworks cross 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.
Educational programming and community collaboration are fundamental to all
LAGI projects, beginning with early concept generation and continuing on site
after each project is installed.
The Land Art Generator Initiative utilizes the design competition model as
a platform to engage as many interdisciplinary teams of artists, architects,
scientists, ecologists, landscape architects, and engineers around the world
as possible to conceptualize aesthetic and pragmatic solutions for 21st century
environmental challenges. The results of the competitions are made public
in exhibitions, workshops, literature, and educational materials to inspire the
general public about the potentials of our energy landscapes.
The design brief for the LAGI design competition contains the following
baseline requirements (each site adds its own unique elements to the list):
»» The artwork is to capture energy from nature, cleanly convert it into
electricity, and transform and transmit the electrical power to a grid
connection point to be supplied by the city,
»» Consideration should be made for the safety of the viewing public and for
the educational activities that may occur on site,
»» The design should be constructible (rather than theoretical),
»» And it must respect the natural ecosystem of the design sites.
LAGI 2010 Dubai/Abu Dhabi
In January of 2010, LAGI put out the first international call to artists, architects,
scientists, landscape architects, engineers, and other creatives. The 2010
LAGI design competition was held for three sites in the UAE and we received
hundreds of submissions from over 40 countries. The prize award and
ceremony was sponsored by Masdar and took place at the 2011 World Future
Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, where UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was
introduced to the concepts.
LAGI 2012 New York City
In partnership with New York City’s Department of Parks & Recreation we held
the 2012 LAGI design competition for a site within Freshkills Park (the former
Fresh Kills Landfill). We received 250 submissions from around the world.
LAGI 2014 Copenhagen
LAGI came to Copenhagen during the year that the City was honored as the
European Green Capital. We received 300 submissions from 55 countries and the
European Commissioner for Climate Action presented the award to the winning
design team at the Danish Design Centre.
LAGI 2016 Santa Monica
This year LAGI was held in Southern California, with the City of Santa Monica as site partner. Interdisciplinary teams were invited to design a site-specific public artwork that generates clean electricity and/or drinking water for Southern
California at a utility scale. The site includes the breakwater adjacent to the
historic Santa Monica Pier, and it offered the opportunity to utilize wave and
tidal energy as well as wind, solar, and other technologies.
Alongside our LAGI 2016 competition, we held a LAGI 2015–2016 Youth Prize
for those aged 18 and below. Using the LAGI 13-step Design Process Toolkit of
activities, young people participated on their own, through classrooms, and in
after school programs.
In addition to LAGI design competitions, the project is engaged in consulting
with cities, developers, and organizations worldwide through various other
project delivery models. LAGI is working closely with cities in the USA, the UK,
Africa, and South America to integrate renewable energy infrastructure into
creative placemaking projects and mixed-use developments.
Participatory design projects include: developing a Solar Tapestry in
collaboration with the homeless community of rural Yakima, Washington;
developing culturally relevant energy solutions with Maasai women in
Olorgesailie Kenya; and working with urban youth to design and build 5kW solar
sculptures that help to power local community centers and schools.
WHAT ISSUES DOES LAGI ADDRESS?
Confronting the challenge of global climate change requires the communication
of a positive vision of a sustainable future that can bring about a massive and
organized social movement. After decades of scientific consensus on the cause,
and a general agreement even within popular culture about the solution (a
swift transition to a 100% renewable and GHG emissions-free infrastructure),
there still exists a vocal constituency that is reactive against the proliferation of
distributed and centralized renewable energy infrastructures.
Popular questions about the demanding spatial requirements of renewable
energy systems and their aesthetic impact on the constructed environment have
the potential to impede progress on the implementation of built solutions and
proactive public policies. We see this effect within many communities that are
opposed to wind and solar installations, especially when they can be seen from
higher-value residential neighborhoods, or when they bring change to certain
cherished view corridors and historic landscapes.
LAGI is working to address the issue of public awareness and to expand public
support for renewable energy infrastructures by engaging individuals and
communities through the medium of public art.
The civic engagement that LAGI catalyzes has proven to be a powerful
mechanism for positive social change. The presentation of beautiful examples of
utility-scale clean infrastructures that beautify public spaces can help citizens
to feel a sense of pride in our collective energy landscapes. It’s also an effective
way to teach people about new technologies. LAGI is able to reach the next
generation of designers, engineers, scientists, and policy makers, who will
forever incorporate the creative integration of sustainable systems into
Cities around the world are setting a course towards energy self-sufficiency in
response to climate change, and in preparation for future cost uncertainties in
conventional fuels. Some are starting from scratch and others are aspiring to
retrofit themselves to carbon neutrality. Public artworks that provide energy to
the grid can give urban planners a new and versatile tool for bringing renewable
energy generation into cities both small and large.
In total LAGI has collected over 800 design ideas for aesthetic sustainable
infrastructure from over 60 countries. Cities and developers around the world
are looking to LAGI to provide unique solutions for integrated and distributed
renewable energy installations that also serve as tools for creative placemaking
and economic development.
Past LAGI partnerships and supporters have included: NYC Department of Parks
& Recreation, NYC Department of Sanitation, USGBC-LA, the City of Santa
Monica, NYC Mayor’s Office (2012), the European Commission for Climate Action, Copenhagen Municipality, Capital Region of Denmark, Masdar of Abu Dhabi, the Danish Design Centre, the National Endowment for the Arts, IT University Copenhagen, Zayed University, and many more.