The choice for solar electricity grows more and more popular among residential and commercial users. Adapted for new buildings, as well as for old establishments, the solar cells have increased their efficiency and diminished their size, so that they can be used in different projects with minimum impact on the final aesthetics of project. And since we are talking about aesthetics, the artistic potential of these small solar power “factories” has started to be exploited around the world. The result: stunning pieces of non-conventional art with a practical side. Placed mainly in public areas, the solar artwork changes dramatically the way the urban landscaping looks like. Whether we are talking about playing with light or inserting solar panels in the city architecture, the results are complex pieces of modern art which fall out of traditional classifications.
Fire up the night with solar light
Lightning bulbs shining in the night have always fascinated artists and common people alike. The solar panels give artists more independence and peace of mind, since the light used to put their ideas in practice is free and eco-friendly. Cables no longer interfere with the artistic vision and the location restrictions given by the accessibility of the power grid are totally erased. Hiro Yamagata, takes advantage of this independence and wants to project laser lights featuring Bamiyan Buddas onto a rock wall in Afghanistan. The laser lights will be powered exclusively by solar and wind power.
In Tucson, Arizona, USA, a festival celebrating the sun and the local artistic movement takes place every year, since 2003. Each artist creates unique sculptures which are lighted mainly by solar power. The lighted sculptures create breathtaking urban landscaping during festival time.
Inserting solar panels or solar cells into the urban landscaping has a dual scope: that of providing eco-friendly and affordable power and of increasing the aesthetic appearance of the city via challenging and modern designs. The works of Sarah Hall, Rebecca Schwarz and Robert Behrens are only few of the modern art pieces which represent this new dual trend. Sarah Hall works with glass, creating artistic pieces by playing with transparencies. In between two sheets of glass, the artist introduces solar cells used to light the building or to provide electricity for small appliances.
Rebecca Schwarz has created an outdoor solar installation in Vermont, USA which symbolizes an active nerve. The nerve flashes continuously, powered by the solar panels installed nearby. Robert Behrens thought big in 1989, when he created the Solar Intersections, a complex of steel poles painted with special paint and covered in functional solar panels.
The Nordic Folk center for Renewable Energy, located in Denmark has created an eye-catching display of solar panels, suitable for urban usage. The sun-like structure enables a pleasant, as well as functional set-up for the solar panels. A similar project was developed in Gleisdorf, Austria, where a 3.5 km street uses solar panels to power different objects.
Solar art is also represented in contemporary painting and sculpture, as well as in street benches and lighting poles. Its utility as well as its aesthetic value is undeniable and so is its growing potential.
Pictures credit to australiacool (Flickr)