Friday, July 3, 2009

Helix BioReactor Perth, 2009 | Emergent Architecture

Rather than responding to the brief with a monumental artwork “representing the heritage of Perth”, our design consists of an outcropping of human-scale Helix Bioreactors which relate to the city in a more nuanced way. These devices are intended to operate ontologically at both conceptual and visceral levels, in terms of space, color, luminosity, but also infrastructure and engineering. There are seven elements, tied together by a pleated, color-variegated groundscape which tracks a network of biofuel lines leading across the street to the Perth train station. This project is an attempt to avoid the trappings of conventional public art which is often associated with large, often modern, expressions of form. The design does not signify, it performs. The Helix BioReactors gather energy by way of several interwoven high- and low-tech systems. These include a luminous, artificial photosynthetic system invented by Origin Oil in Los Angeles, and thin-film solar transistors woven into ornamental electronic tracery. Now, one could argue that artwork shouldn’t actually do work, that art is by definition excessive. Of course there were also those who argued in the 20th century that multimedia art was not true art like painting. If this decade in human civilization has presented us with any resonant knowledge about our world, it is that energy is culturally precious, that it is possibly the ultimate medium. Energy may indeed be one of the most timely mediums for art.....Emergent Architecture
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