A powerful change

It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge what energy is.
This was said by Richard Feynman, Nobel laureate in physics in 1965 and one of the most respected scientists of the 20th century.

Despite the aura of mystery and complexity surrounding this word, energy is a physical quantity that is the basis of our lives, of the existence of this planet and, more generally, of the entire Universe.
We ourselves, through our bodies, produce and consume energy and every act of our day refers, without our paying attention to it, to this term.

After showing you the vastness of the mycelium world through mushroom with a view, we take you on a journey dedicated to energy, the sustainable and renewable kind. Let’s put aside for a moment the image of traditional wind turbines and grey solar panels, , and immerse ourselves in the union of art and science, beauty and functionality through the projects of Chris Meigh-Andrews, compáz, Land Art Generator Initiative, Marjan van Aubel and Alex Nathanson.

Because we are all conductors of the power of change.

Made with the contribution of Silvia Bonaventura.


Chris Meigh-Andrews (UK), compáz (Switzerland), Land Art Generator Initiative (USA), Marjan van Aubel (Netherlands), Alex Nathanson (USA)



All images, videos, and audio are protected by copyright.


by compáz

Photo—Synthesis a double photovoltaic installation, a poetic series of artwork that demonstrate technologically and artistically the power of the sun.
As part of compáz, artist-photographer David Hartwell explores the relationship of usefulness and formal beauty expressed by commonplace organisms.

In this artwork, solar energy can be seen as a new artistic medium that can stimulate creativity and contribute to a more responsible society.
The installation follows a tradition of innovative solutions to develop novel energy strategies for future generations. Its aim is making us forget about the visual aesthetic of photovoltaic panels, as instead these modules appear as a high definition image while still producing electricity from light.

By offering a new perception of solar energy, Photo—synthesis technology could in time contribute to an increase in architectural solutions that integrate photovoltaic systems.

Plants convert sunlight into chemical energy through a process known as photosynthesis. Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. Both produce energy. Compáz lens superficially reveals the raison d’être of the aesthetic of plants: maximum effect for minimum means. Yet, the association is always mindful not to imply that beauty is a de facto by-product of efficiency. Bridging the divide between Romanticism and Realism, these images do entertain the possibility that plants might be more than just passive recipients of evolutionary pressures.

Photo—Synthesis © compáz
Photo—Synthesis © compáz


by Land Art Generator Initiative

Diurnal Shadow

by Riccardo Mariano

“Time is the measure of change.” —Aristotle, Physics

Diurnal Shadow celebrates the sun as the primary source of energy on earth. The sun’s movements become visible to visitors under a shaded gateway in the park at the
entrance to Masdar City.

The design of the artwork is inspired by the sundial—the oldest known device used to measure time by the apparent position of the sun in the sky. In this case, the traditional
configuration is reversed. Rather than a gnomon casting shadows, the time of the day is indicated by sunlight projected through a series of openings within a surface of photovoltaic modules capable of generating both solar power and shade.

Time is a central theme for both science and daily life.

Several aspects of life, such as the five daily prayers, are performed at times determined by the position of the sun in the sky. The clockwise direction commonly used in devices and tools was originally informed by the sun’s diurnal motion.

Diurnal Shadow focuses on the relationship between the amount of renewable energy generated and the time of the day. It displays both sets of information on the ground shaded by the artwork. By using the diurnal motion of the sun as a medium to link time and renewable energy generation, the artwork makes viewers aware of the production of energy in an intuitive and playful way.

The project uses thin-film solar photovoltaic to generate 400 MWh per year.

Diurnal Shadow © Riccardo Mariano courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). A submission to LAGI 2019 Abu Dhabi.

Solar (ECO) System

by Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi

The project is an artistic interpretation of the Solar System and marks the position of the planets corresponding to the configuration of the Solar System on December 2nd, 1971, the day in which the United Arab Emirates was founded. The environmental installation is a metaphor of the Seven Emirates, represented in the form of a Sun with six planets. The artwork is also meant to create a new iconic sun for the City of Abu Dhabi: the astronomic Sun radiating energy to the new photovoltaic sun, which will generate light and electricity for the city.

The PV sun works as the attracting element and symbolizes the unity and infinity of the cosmos. The endless geometrical pattern of the golden surface, with its timeless perfection and purity, represents the starry sky and creates a spherical motif of both light and shade. The PV sun is to be completed by means of LEDS that will light up its skin throughout the night. The spheres are all different, varying in structure, dimension, color, transparency degree and photovoltaic technology.

The Earth is the only place in the universe where life is known to exist. Life on earth is therefore symbolized by an already existing tree, around which will be constructed a photovoltaic greenhouse with the serigraphy of the continents. The Moon, its satellite, is endowed on the surface with an opening in shape of a Crescent. The planets, like pavilions, can host entertaining and educational facilities, such as temporary exhibitions or public activities, to create a new place of collective identification and a fascinating cultural site.

The project uses tinted photovoltaic panels for an annual capacity of 1,000 MWh.

Solar (ECO) System © Antonio Maccà and Flavio Masi courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). A submission to LAGI 2010 Dubai/Abu Dhabi.


by Robert Flottemesch

Nest calls upon the primordial forces of earth, air, water, and light, which manifest as jewel-like eggs from without and vibrant forests within. High performance bifacial photovoltaic modules form the eggs’ shells, collecting sunlight from all angles and generating enough energy to cool more than two thousand Masdar homes.

Visitors descend below a gleaming courtyard of white marble and then ascend into one of three realms of verdant life: a rainforest, a cloud forest, and a floating forest. An emblem of the UAE and rooted in Bedouin culture, falcons are treasured members of many local families.

Paying homage to these treasured birds, Nest holds three eggs—a typical clutch and a reference to the three stages of the Estidama Pearl Rating System, the green building standard of the UAE.

Nest holds orbs of life that provide a gateway into Masdar City and a sanctuary for visitors seeking a green oasis away from scorching summer heat. Clean, unbroken lines rise from an expansive courtyard providing unobstructed views that highlight the natural beauty of an ancient form symbolic of life. White marble tiles reflect light onto solar modules increasing power generation and helping to cool the courtyard. Ground source geothermal and energy recovery ventilators, powered entirely by solar, provide a carbon-free and energy efficient air-conditioning solution for the interiors of Nest.

A robust yet lightweight omni-triangulated structure allows the egg shapes to be completely open on the inside. A higher concentration of clear glass is integrated at street level to provide greater visibility into the eggs.

Two primary entrances, one on each side of the bisecting transit loop, provide access to a sheltered pedestrian walk connecting all three eggs. Visitor facilities and mechanical rooms are located below grade with inlaid glass incorporated into the courtyard’s tile pattern to provide passive lighting.

The project uses mono-crystalline bifacial PERC solar modules for an annual capacity of 6,633 MWh.

Nest © Robert Flottemesch courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). A submission to LAGI 2019 Abu Dhabi.

The Solar Hourglass

by Santiago Muros Cortés

Rather than using sand to measure time, The Solar Hourglass uses the power of the sun to electrify hundreds of homes while providing a breathtaking setting for inspiration and relaxation. The installation consists of an upper and a lower bulb. Dozens of people can gather on the bottom bulb during the day, sheltered by the shade of the top bulb.

The project works as a solar central receiver, consisting of an arrangement of small flat mirrors that concentrate their reflection of solar energy on a tank holding a heating medium. Sun-tracking mirrors (heliostats) on top of the upper bulb reflect solar heat onto a cone-shaped set of smaller mirrors that concentrate these reflections and direct them down the neck of the installation.

The concentrated beam of solar heat then reaches a receiver containing heat transfer fluid (HTF) of molten nitrate salt, which is heated to temperatures over 600°C. The HTF is conveyed through a heat exchanger where water is turned into steam to run a 6.2 MW turbine generator. A small percentage of the steam produced is released back into the neck of the hourglass, thus making the solar beam visible to the public. The higher heat capacity of the molten salt allows for the system to store heat and produce energy during cloudy weather or even at night. All the energy production and transformation components are hidden inside the bottom bulb and inaccessible to the public, making it safe for public engagement.

At night, the beam turns off, and the thin layer of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) that covers the installation, lights up on the surface of both bulbs, transforming the hourglass into a pair of elegantly curved planes that shine on the edge of Refshaleøen.

The Solar Hourglass reminds us that energy is just as precious and fleeting as time, and thus we should take care of it, appreciate it, and not waste it. The installation aims to send an optimistic message to those who visit. We still have time to make things right with the environment, and if we act now, it is not yet too late.

The project uses concentrated solar power (thermal beam-down tower with heliostats) for an annual capacity of 7,500 MWh.

The Solar Hourglass © Santiago Muros Cortés courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). A submission to LAGI 2014 Copenhagen.

Beyond the Wave

by Jaesik Lim, Ahyoung Lee, Sunpil Choi, Dohyoung Kim, Hoeyoung Jung, Jaeyeol Kim, Hansaem Kim (Heerim Architects & Planners)

Inspired by Len Lye’s diverse and dynamic kinetic art, the wavy expression of ribbons and flexible poles that comprise Beyond the Wave creates tangible and intangible movements through a healing environment. The allocation of the poles and ribbons are based on Copenhagen’s wind rose analysis and soil survey map.

Therefore, the frequency, density, and spacing between the poles are determined by the wind strength and intensity.

The strength of the wind influences the varying movements of the flexible poles. The ribbon that interconnects the poles symbolically becomes a “wave,” representing the encounter between the water and the wind. The system utilizes the power of the sun while also harnessing the forces within the support structures to produce additional energy. The site is composed of an array of poles to allow spatial settings for various human activities and movements.

The ribbons consist of transparent, organic solar material that responds to the movement of the wind. The OPV panel attached to the 1.5-meter-wide ribbon generates energy, which is partially used for OLED lighting. The display panel in the lower part of the pole indicates the amount of energy generated and reduction of CO2, showcasing energy saving effects in real-time.

The project uses organic photovoltaic (OPV), kinetic harvesting (piezoelectric) for an annual capacity of 4,229 MWh.

Beyond the Wave © Heerim Architects & Planners courtesy Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI). A submission to LAGI 2014 Copenhagen.


by Chris Meigh-Andrews

This site-specific installation harnessed the energy from a large solar array to produce a series of evening projections of high-definition images of the sun produced by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory. The installation drew energy collected during the day to project images of the sun back onto the surface of the array itself in a reversal of the process.

The solar panels of the array were covered with a reflective material during the evening to provide an image of sufficient brightness to be visible. The project required a high-powered data projector and local police clearance to allow the images to be projected from a building across a busy road from the array. At dusk the solar array was rotated to face the university building directly across the road in which a Christie high-definition video projector was installed on the third floor.

Edited time-lapse high-definition video sequences were projected onto the array on four consecutive nights, drawing considerable crowds and providing a spectacular demonstration of the power and majesty of the sun and of the university’s collaborative research initiatives.

Chris Meigh-Andrews’s aspirations for this work were related to ideas and concerns that link it to his previous renewable energy installation projects.

SunBeam brought him closer to his conceptual goal of producing a technological artwork which attempts to integrate the source of its energy with the images it presents, to celebrate the harmonious relationship between light, energy and the fluid nature of matter in general.

Produced in collaboration with the Jeremiah Horrocks Institute for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, University of Central Lanchashire, Preston, UK and the Solar Dynamics Observatory, (NASA). Scientific Advisor: Dr. Robert Walsh, with assistance from Dr. Stephane Regnier, David Henckel and Michael Dorricott. With support from Astley Hire. Video editing of solar sequences: Cinzia Cremona.

SunBeam © Chris Meigh-Andrews


by Marjan van Aubel Studio

The world’s population is growing, and so is the demand for food. New technologies make farming more efficient but require considerable amounts of energy. What if we could tackle both our world’s energy and food problems? What if we can harvest both electricity and food within one system using the power of the sun?

Power Plant is a greenhouse that uses transparent solar glass to power it’s indoor climate; harvesting both food and electricity to grow the plants of the future, using the power of design. By placing Power Plant onto rooftops, we can reduce food miles by growing food to supply directly on the place we need it.

This research hopes to contribute towards the energy transition in the agricultural sector. The solar glass powers a hydroponic system, which pumps around nutrient water, saving up to 90% of water usage compared to traditional soil farming. In addition to sunlight, colored LED lights enhance plant growth, increasing the yield by up to 4 times.

Power Plant demonstrates that botanical tech can be embedded in the urban environment to educate people to bring the future of farming into our cities.

Solar Plant © Marjan van Aubel Studio


by Pauline van Dongen and Marjan van Aubel

The initiative of award-winning designers Marjan van Aubel and Pauline van Dongen explores the meaning and possibilities of solar energy. The Solar Biennale runs for seven weeks displaying a human and cultural panorama that aims to inspire and to provide space for wonder, design and imagination.

“A human and new perspective on solar energy is needed; away from just payback and efficiency. With The Solar Biennale we show that the power of design is needed to meaningfully integrate solar into our environment. We show a world where our sun is much more and more explicitly central.”
—Pauline van Dongen and Marjan van Aubel
(co-founders The Solar Biennale/The SolarMovement)

A new perspective on solar energy The Solar Biennale looks at the broader scope of solar energy through five “lenses”, these alternative perspectives maneuver beyond efficiency in their own way: personal, social, environmental, spatial and digital/virtual. In cooperation with various partners, organizations and designers, the program offers visitors critical yet accessible insights on change and on how we need to move towards a solar society before it’s too late.

The start marks the introduction of The Solar Movement: a widespread international network, an invitation, and a design manifesto, all under one umbrella.

The Solar Biennale © Pauline van Dongen and Marjan van Aubel


projects by Alex Nathanson

Solar Percussion Instrument

This project is a solar powered percussion instrument commissioned by the Peabody Essex Museum. Visitors are able to interact with the instrument by pushing buttons on the device. When pressed various lights turn on and shine on the solar cells, which drive percussive elements.

A gif showing a person interacting with the solar powered percussion instrument © Alex Nathanson

Solar Protocol

Solar Protocol is a global network of small-scale solar power internet servers that deliver content and route computational activity based on whichever device is in the most sun at a given time. The project is a collaboration between Alex Nathanson, Tega Brain, and Benedetta Piantella.

A screenshot of the Solar Protocol website showing a visualization of 72 hours of network activity, along with additional information about the server it is being served from. © Alex Nathanson

6V Solar Mosaic: Refugees Welcome

6V Solar Mosaic: Refugees Welcome is a functional photovoltaic mosaic created with upcycled solar cells. The module produces 6 volts. The piece points to the emergence of climate refugees and the mass displacements that will result from the climate crisis. It attempts to remind the viewer that technical solutions alone cannot solve the crisis, but that it requires social and political solutions as well.

The 6V Solar Mosaic: Refugees Welcome was hand assembled from upcycled solar cells © Alex Nathanson

A History of Solar Power Art and Design

A History of Solar Power Art and Design by Alex Nathanson is the first book to document the interdisciplinary history of solar power art and design. It covers the development of sound art, public art, wearable technology, industrial design, digital media, solar powered vehicles, architectural applications, and much more.

Photograph of the cover of Alex Nathanson’s book A History of Solar Power Art and Design. © Alex Nathanson

Photovoltaic Prepared Violins

The Photovoltaic Prepared Violin instruments produce sound when exposed to light. They are performed by dancers manipulating lights that shine on the instruments. When they are activated electromechanical percussion elements strike and vibrate the violin bodies. The instruments were initially developed for a performance in collaboration with composer Dylan Neely and media artist Lindsay Packer, at Issue Project Room in December 2019.

Three photovoltaic prepared violins suspended on a stage. © Alex Nathanson

Solar Power for Artists

Solar Power for Artists is an art and education platform focused on both creative and traditional applications of sustainable energy, particularly photovoltaic solar power. The mission of Solar Power for Artists is to make sustainable energy tangible, accessible, and understandable so that practitioners without engineering expertise can apply these technologies in their own unique local context. The organization provides a number of online resources, classes, and consulting services for artists, designers, educators, community groups, and many more.

A solar cart designed by Alex Nathanson in a schoolyard in New York City. The cart features a 300 watt PV system, AC outlet, USB ports, digital display, and Bluetooth interface, among other features. In addition to providing power, this cart is being used as a teaching aid to support solar power curriculum at the school. © Alex Nathanson

Artists and collectives exhibited


compáz is a collective of scientific and artistic skills, an incubator of ideas that seeks to create, produce and promote projects that will assist social progress. The projects of Compáz are spaces designed to allow for questioning big ideas about society. They are spaces that allow for a growth in consciousness, a different way of looking and conceiving of the world.
Laure-Emmanuelle Perret is an accomplished scientist, as a former manager at the Photovoltaic division of CSEM, she considers herself to be a passionate and committed researcher. She is driven by studying the impact technology has on our society and how we relate to it’s ever increasing importance in our daily lives.
Lats Kladny has been a successful entrepreneur for more than 20 years, lending his talents to companies in order inform their digital transformation and to enhance their strategic positioning in a globalized world. He seeks to create an ideal world where their is a harmony of mobility, technology, good business practices and strong ethical values.
Raphaël Pizzera is an avide consumer of images, contemporary art and anything related to creativity, he has garnered a reputation for his ability to simplify complex ideas, transpose difficult topics to make them accessible and for nourishing aesthetics in unexpected places. His rebellious spirit can be seen as the antithesis of the scientific approach yet his creative skills and desire to make the world a better place are key elements to drive the success of Compáz.
David Hartwell is a photographer, animator and motion graphics artist. His photographic work explores the relationship of usefulness and formal beauty expressed by commonplace organisms. He sees the photovoltaic substrate as a natural medium for his creations. He cannot imagine a better canvas than one endowed with the power to harness the sun’s energy.


Land Art Generator Initiative

The Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) was founded in 2008 by Elizabeth Monoian and Robert Ferry to leverage the power of art and design to accelerate the clean energy transition. ​​
As the world rises to the climate challenge, vast new sustainable energy and other infrastructures are transforming our visual landscapes and changing the way we live. LAGI brings forward exceptional climate solutions—regenerative monuments to this most important time in human history—that inspire people about the beauty, abundance, and cultural vibrancy of a world that has left behind burning fossil fuels for energy. Open design competitions for Dubai/Abu Dhabi (LAGI 2010), New York City (LAGI 2012), Copenhagen (LAGI 2014), Santa Monica (LAGI 2016), Melbourne (LAGI 2018), Abu Dhabi (LAGI 2019), Fly Ranch (LAGI 2020), and Mannheim (LAGI 2022) have brought in over 1,500 designs from 80+ countries.
Partners and supporters include City of New York, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation,
J.M. Kaplan Fund, City of Copenhagen, 24th World Energy Congress, Burning Man Project, European Union Commission on Climate Action, City of Santa Monica, Masdar Abu Dhabi, National Endowment for the Arts, Capital Region of Denmark, The Royal Commission for AlUla, Danish Design Centre, the City of Glasgow, the State of Victoria (Australia), Carbon Arts, Creative Carbon Scotland, Climarte, Arizona State University, the German Federal Garden Show, and many more.


Chris Meigh-Andrews

Chris Meigh-Andrews is an artist, writer, and curator and Emeritus Professor of Electronic and Digital Art at the University of Central Lancashire. Considered by many to be a pioneer in the development of video art and digital moving image in the UK and for his renewable energy installations, he began exhibiting his work internationally in the late 1970’s. Meigh-Andrews has written and lectured extensively on the history and practice of artists’ video within the UK and internationally. Publications include A History of Video Art: The Development of Form and Function, Berg, (Oxford and New York, 2006), in Japanese by Sangensha, (Tokyo, 2013). An enlarged and extended 2nd edition was published by Bloomsbury, (London and New York, 2013), and in Chinese by China Pictorial Publishing (Beijing, 2018). He is currently Editor-in-Chief, (UK and Europe) of the forthcoming three-volume Encyclopaedia of New Media Art for Bloomsbury Academic.

Marjan van Aubel Studio

Marjan van Aubel Studio Marjan van Aubel Studio is an award-winning innovative solar design practice that brings solar energy into daily life. Designing for a positive future through combining the fields of sustainability, design and technology.
The studio is creating lasting change through solar design, integrating solar power seamlessly into our environments such as in buildings and objects. With the goal to make solar power more accessible for everyone. Most notable works are Sunne, Current Table, Power Plant and the roof of the Netherlands Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai. Marjan has collaborated with global brands such as Cos, Timberland, Swarovski with the aim of accelerating the global energy transition to solar. Graduating from the Royal College of Art (Design Products MA) in 2012 and the Rietveld Academy DesignLAB (BA) in 2009.


Alex Nathanson

Alex Nathanson is a designer, technologist, artist, and educator. His work is primarily focused on exploring both the experimental and practical applications of sustainable energy technologies, particularly photovoltaic solar power. He is the founder and lead designer of the education and art platform Solar Power for Artists and its partner studio, Energy Transition Design LLC. Both the platform and studio are focused on making sustainable energy accessible, tactile, and understandable. As a solar power designer, he has created interactive and educational projects for the Climate Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Solar One, and the NYC Department of Education, among others. His artistic collaborators have included Dylan Neely, Kid Millions, Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, Will Owen, Kendall Williams, Lindsay Packer, Benedetta Piantella, and Tega Brain. He was one of the long-term artists in residence at Flux Factory, in Queens, NY from 2012 to 2016, and in collaboration with his multimedia performance group Fan Letters was awarded residencies at The Watermill Center in 2017 and 2019. Solar Protocol has received fellowships from Eyebeam, Code for Science and Society, and Mozilla Foundation. Most recently, his book A History of Solar Power Art and Design was published by Routledge.

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