In the past decade, it has been a joy, not to mention a relief to watch the world’s transition toward a cleaner, more sustainable future gathering pace. Contrary to the opinions of the naysayers, evidence from the scientific community is all but unanimous with regards to the alarming subject of climate change. It is happening – to deny this as many do is simply ludicrous. You’d do as well to argue that white is black.
Fortunately, while the matter of gaining support from some national governments has been akin to watching an elderly man try to herd cats, the populations of countries around the world have taken matters into their own hands. We live in an age of socio-environmental conscientiousness, where even the most unlikely members of society are inspired by the promise of a world which will one day have a net-zero carbon future. With this in mind, it should be of little surprise that events such as the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI), a bi-yearly event which first began in 2008, have inspired huge followings and earned cult status.
We’re ashamed to admit that the Land Art Generator Initiative’s 2016 competition entirely passed us by here at Endeavour, and it simply wouldn’t do to end the year without making reference to it. Quite simply, LAGI has grown to become one of the world’s most followed sustainable design events, and an inspiration to the many who avidly follow it. Life imitates art, in the words of a certain man named Oscar Wilde, and in the case of LAGI it truly does.
If you’re wondering how on earth art could make a difference, consider this: art, a powerful form of expression with the proven ability to create movements and stimulate creative dialogue, is the perfect medium through which to work towards the creation of a better world. 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. LAGI provides a platform for artists to go further, and to take an active role in solving the problem through their own work: “solution-based art practice”.
LAGI’s goal is to accelerate the transition to post-carbon economies by providing models of renewable energy infrastructure that add value to public space, inspiring and educating while providing power to thousands of homes around the world. It achieves this through the harnessing of ideas, where competitors are challenged to fuse art and aesthetic beauty with cutting-edge technology – unlikely bedfellows on the surface, granted, but undeniably an effective union indeed when you look at some of the design concepts that were submitted to this year’s LAGI 2016 competition in Santa Monica.
The brief for this year’s competition entrants was to design a site-specific public artwork that, in addition to its conceptual beauty, has the ability to cleanly harness energy from nature and convert it into electricity and/or drinking water for the City – a fitting task, considering California’s much publicised water shortages. The 2016 design site offered participating teams the opportunity to utilise wave and tidal energies as well as wind, solar and other technologies, and suffice to say the entries were astonishing.
This year’s winner, Regatta H2O – the sails of which are fog-harvesting meshes, designed to capture fresh water and harness the wind in order to power its operations – is hauntingly beautiful and yet utterly practical for use as a piece of sustainable infrastructure. Amongst the best of the rest, there is The Pipe – a device which sparked a media frenzy due to its sleek cylindrical aesthetics capacity to generate 10,000 MWh of energy and desalinate 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water annually. Then there’s the Cnidaria Halitus, Catching the Wave, Cetacea, and The Clear Orb – all of which are no less incredible.
The Land Art Generator Initiative just goes to show that while the world may at times seem as if it is losing the plot, you only need to scratch beneath the surface to find that wonderful things happen.
To learn more about the incredible work of LAGI, visit: www.landartgenerator.org