Friday, November 27, 2009

The Art of Sun and Wind

In my last post I talked about how the space industry has embraced solar for space. But what about the geeks at the other end of the spectrum... What about the artists?

Artists help give us our culture. They comment visually, conceptually, sonicly...and in any other number of ways to broaden our perspectives.

Today I want to comment on several kinetic sculpture artists. These are artists for whom solar and wind power have played vital roles.

Let's take a look first at a pioneer, and Fluxus legend, Joe Jones.

Fluxus is a two hour side track, but at some point you need to know about this important art movment started in the 1960's.

Jones, was a contemporary and musical ally of avant garde champion John Cale.

Much of Jones' major work is with musical instruments that would 'play themselves'.
He used solar panels to activate these 'solar orchestras'.

Here are some photos and an mp3 of the amazing results.

Joe Jones - 06 Solar Music Hot House .mp3

Found at bee mp3 search engine

Interview with Jones.

Now, let's look at Theo Jansen, who is unparralled in his use of wind as a means to power his unbelievable kinetic sculptures. Rather than try to explain them, just look at the pictures and then this wicked youtube video.

Jones and Jansen are among the most developed of any of the artists who's work is integrally linked to the sun and the wind.

However, you do have to think of Calder's mobiles as powered by air current, and other artists have built off of this principal.

Artists like Colorado's own Robert Mangold and Jon Stiles are among them.

Other notable projects can be found, like this 'solar powered paper horse', from James G Watt, a pattern and kit are available on his site

Let us also not forget about wind chimes...jeez, wind chimes is probably it's own post.

There are also other ways in which solar is being used in music. This is a link to a 'solar powered concert' series.

This is an awesome carl sagen nerdy and rad.

As technology increasingly continues to play a role in contemporary art I see massive increase in the amount of artists who will use solar and wind power in their work. Lots of great work already to build on.