Renewable Energy Art – Patrick Marold

Patrick Marold is an artist exploring the intersection between natural phenomina, energy, and perception – aka renewable energy art. His Windmill Project in Vail, Burlington Vermont, and Iceland, plants posts with anemometers connected to LED downlights to illuminate the wind rustling across the site.

The Windmill Project from Patrick Marold on Vimeo.

The WINDMILL PROJECT was developed out my desire to map and watch the wind, harnessing its behaviors. While living in Iceland during the long winter nights, I would install this sculptural tool in the pasture and hills. Iceland’s abundance of wind and dark hours provided the perfect setting to develop this idea. The most recent Windmill installation in Burlington, Vermont lasted 14 weeks last fall; and the 2007 installation in Vail, Colorado employed as many as 2700 windmills, covering over 15,000 square feet. For nearly 2 months, these windmills translated the valley’s winds into blooming and breathing bodies of light.

The WINDMILL PROJECT involves placing a mass of light generating windmills in specific outdoor locations. The wind forces each windmill to produce a relevant amount of light, in a sense digitizing the wind. This work of art converts the energy of wind into a responsive visual choreography, exhibiting the rhythm of a mechanical process that is collaborating with the harmony and chaos of wind.

When there are gentle breezes that pass over the windmills, a dim glow appears, while strong gusts create bright pulsing waves of light. This sculpture momentarily embraces the wind allowing for a more attainable vision of this natural element, systematically creating a slight delay in the viewers’ sense of time. Some people have compared the visual representation to that of a flock of birds collectively swarming in the sky, or the uniquely animate northern lights. The impressive living body of light provokes a deeper perspective of the wind as it passes by.

Holly Solar Products + Suntronics (Petaluma, CA) helped fabricate the lights and turbines.


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