This month, our Renewable Energy Artworks series continues with a focus on a German wind turbine manufacturer that supports local artists to use its turbines as an artistic canvas.
When I first sat down to write this post, I intended to describe the background story of how three musicians ended up on top of a wind turbine in eastern Québec, through a collaboration between the international world music festival, Festival musique du bout du monde, and the wind energy think-tank TechnoCentre éolien.
Watch this sublime sunrise concert 80 meters above the ground – the first in the world – in the autumn-tinged mountains of Québec’s magnificent Gaspé peninsula that juts out into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence:
The three musicians from the coastal city of Gaspé are, left to right, Yvette Thériault (accordion), Balby Gadho (djembé) and Justin Garneau (oud). Secured to the top of a Senvion nacelle via (hidden) security harnesses, the trio performs an original composition by Mr. Garneau entitled Le 15ième lever du soleil (The 15th sunrise), inspired by Indian and North African music.
As I researched this post however, I discovered that these artists were not the first to use a wind turbine as an artistic canvas. Artists in Portugal and Australia have also collaborated with their local wind industry to create original works of art that, ultimately, will shift the public’s perception of the beauty and promise of wind energy in a rapidly changing world.
The common link between these three groups of international artists – in Québec, in Portugal and in Australia – is the German turbine manufacturer, Senvion.
Senvion has distinguished itself from other turbine manufacturers through its avant-garde and proactive community engagement strategy that has resulted in, among other things, bold and vibrant artworks that serve as icons of a new era.
For example, in 2016 Senvion commissioned two of Portugal’s most internationally renowned artists, Joana Vasconcelos and Vhils, to paint two 100-meter Senvion wind turbines for the 171.2 MW Âncora Wind farm in northern Portugal.
In my humble opinion, these are the most beautiful wind turbines in the world.
The video below describes Senvion’s WindArt project in Portugal:
In Australia, two 69-meter Senvion wind turbines were painted between 2013 and 2014 at Australia’s first community-owned wind farm – Hepburn Wind – by Melbourne artists Ghostpatrol (David Booth) and Bonsai. Watch the video below documenting the completion of the second turbine, which coincided with a “Sleep under the stars” family camping event at the wind farm:
I look forward to the day when more and more artists will be commissioned by the renewable energy sector – solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, biomass, biogas – to add their voices and vision of what our post-carbon world will look like.
Disclaimer: Over the past five years, I have worked as a contract photographer for Senvion on several of its Canadian wind projects, including four community wind projects: Viger-Denonville and Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n in Québec, and Gunn’s Hill and Oxley in Ontario. Even though these projects do not include any turbines painted by local artists, they are all majestically beautiful to me. They give me hope for the future. For my daughter’s future.
Joan Sullivan is a renewable energy photographer based in Québec, Canada. Since 2009, Joan has focused her cameras (and more recently her drones) exclusively on solutions to climate change. She is convinced that the inevitable transition to a 100% clean energy economy will happen faster – and within our lifetimes – by creating positive images and stories that help us visualize and embrace what a post-carbon future will look like. Joan collaborates frequently with filmmakers on documentary films that explore the human side of the energy transition. She is currently working on a photo book about the energy transition. Her renewable energy photos have been exhibited in group shows in Canada and the UK. You can find Joan on Twitter and Instagram.
About Artists and Climate Change:
Artists and Climate Change is a blog that tracks artistic responses from all disciplines to the problem of climate change. It is both a study about what is being done, and a resource for anyone interested in the subject. Art has the power to reframe the conversation about our environmental crisis so it is inclusive, constructive, and conducive to action. Art can, and should, shape our values and behavior so we are better equipped to face the formidable challenge in front of us.
Once upon a time ... Magritte Duane Michals, René Magritte, 1967
René Magritte is world famous for his strange and poetic images. He was born on 21 November 1898 in Lessines, (Hainaut) Belgium. When Magritte is 12 years old, he attends drawing classes above a sweet shop! At 18, because the art of painting seems somehow 'magical', he decides to make this his career and he enrols at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels. Georgette and René Magritte, 1922
At 15, Magritte meets Georgette at a fair. A few years later, they meet again and marry. She becomes his favourite model and she lets him stage the scenes where he paints her in all sorts of outfits and in some surprising poses and places. A great complicity unites them throughout their lives!
The man who became a painter René Magritte, Woman on Horseback, 1922, RMFAB
During his years at the Academy, Magritte meets a lot of other artists who later become hi…
Todos os anos, diversas agências de notícias e de fotografias, selecionam as melhores fotos do ano. Visitando os diversos sites, escolhi algumas que mais me tocaram. Possivelmente não sejam apenas belas, mas me surpreendi com a alta frequência de fotos relacionadas com as mudanças climáticas. Ou foi meu olhar de pesquisadora?
Inicio com uma seção de mundo, natureza, humano...
As paisagens se modificam, com diversos conflitos climáticos! Não pude me esquivar das políticas fascistas em plena ascensão, que coadunam com as catástrofes ecológicas, e que forjam a migração desesperada neste mundo contemporâneo.
Entre territórios e desterritorializações, parece que o poder político dos sexos, racismos, preconceitos e violências promovem a extinção da própria Terra. Contudo, quiçá novas linhas de fuga possibilitem o esperançar do pulsar da VIDA!
Que em 2019, as tribos usem suas máquinas de guerra contra Thanatos. E que os coletivos poéticos consigam emergir com a força de Eros!
Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images An Artist Ahead of His Time, and Ours Images: John Baldessari's gallery design features Magritte's Personal Values next to Vija Celmins's Untitled (Comb), with Jeff Koons's stainless steel Rabbit in the right foreground.Left: the entryway to the exhibition, with Magritte's The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe) on the far wall. Installation photos by Steve Oliver. The InstallationNOTHING WILL QUITE PREPARE YOU for the setting of LACMA's astonishing new show featuring the works of René Magritte and thirty-one contemporary artists. As Suzanne Muchnic wrote in the Nov. 12 Los Angeles Times, “John Baldessari, a pioneering conceptualist represented in the show, has designed an installation intended to turn the galleries—and visitors' experience—upside down. The entrance will re-create ‘The Unexpected Answer,’ a Magritte painting of a door with a cutout silhouette of a gh…