Renewable energy as art: the Bakken Museum's Green Energy Art Garden
A solar array, or a wind farm, can certainly have aesthetic appeal… but the visual interplay between the technology and its surroundings, or the beauty inherent in those panels and turbines themselves, usually isn’t high on the priority list of installers. The Bakken Museum in Minneapolis, which is dedicated to “exploring the mysteries of our electric world,” thought that beauty needed further exploration… and commissioned local artists to create works that “demonstrate a new, creative approach to using alternative energy sources.”
Opened on Friday (July 15), the Green Energy Art Garden exhibit features the four sculptures resulting from these commissions. In each case, the artists (all of whom worked “in conjunction with scientists, inventors and engineers working in the field of renewable energy”) played with the idea of “showing” the energy produced from sun and wind to visitors, as well as allowing those viewing the works to interact with them. ”Solar Spitters,” for instance, allows viewers to cut off the flow of water emerging from three sculptured goblins (which feeds a created ecosystem) by standing in front of the solar collectors that power the pumps. “Finite to Infinite” combines kaleidoscopes with solar and wind energy, and found objects “to create dramatic, unexpected patterns illuminated by LED lights…” And “The Sonic Articulation of Sunbeams” creates sounds from solar power (which you can hear in the video above).
The Bakken itself sounds like a fun place overall (for adults and kids), and this exhibit sounds like it should be both educational and entertaining. The Green Energy Art Garden sculptures will be on display through September 8.
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Image: Artist Marjorie Pitz with her “Solar Spitters” sculpture. Courtesy of The Bakken