Seven creative sculptures designed to run on wind power

Future flower sculpture

Sustainability is more than just saving the environment and generating electricity, it is a lifestyle and an art movement. Moreover, what we categorize as sustainable artwork aren’t just ones that consist of eco-friendly materials. There are myriad other categories to green art. One such category is that of artworks, which work on renewable energy and either produce electricity or perform some other function. Let’s take a look at seven such creative sculptures that work on wind power.

 7 – Sculptures that run on wind power

Seven creative sculptures designed to run on wind power

1. Singing ringing tree

In 2006, architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu created a “Singing Ringing Tree” sculpture in Pennines Mountain Range, in Lancashire. The structure is a wind powered sound generator that is made by joining galvanized steel pipes. Some of the pipes are angled for aesthetic reasons. However, the others are tuned for producing harmonic sounds by adding holes on the undersides. The three-meter structure harnesses the wind energy to produce discordant and choral sounds comprising several octaves.

It is one of four sculptures of the Panopticons arts and regeneration project. It is created by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network. The project was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks or Panopticons. In fact, the structures would be providing a comprehensive view across East Lancashire as symbols of the renaissance of the area.

2. Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculptures

You will be rubbing your eyes in disbelief when you see Dutch kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen’s creation, giant Strandbeest” automaton walking on the beach. Constructed with wood, pipe, and sail, these wind-powered machines are intricately linked throughout the whole structure and come across as dexterous artificial beings. Moreover, the wind energy harnessed with the help of sails, organically percolates down through the body with the help of levers, onto the legs€ of these wind walkers.

Jansen has made the Standbeest using genetic algorithm that mimics the process of natural evolution. That is what makes these automatons keep getting better since 1990 when Jansen first started making them. They have adapted to the sandy beach and survived storm and winds. The latest ones made by Jansen can detect water and move away from it and also can sense approaching storm and anchor itself.

The machine can also store wind energy in form of air pressure in recycled bottles, which allow it to move a bit further in the absence of wind. As these wonderful machines sashay down the beach, Jansen puts in, “The wall between Art and Engineering only exist in our mind”.

3. Future flower sculpture

Besides the Mersey River in England stands a fourteen-meter tall wind powered sculpture named “Future flower”. Made by London based architect, Tonkin Liu, the sculpture is made up of 120 perforated galvanized steel petals in form of an icosidodecahedron. Designers have also installed a wind turbine inside it, which generates enough power to illuminate the structure using LED lights. In addition, the making of the sculpture was funded by North West Development Agency as part of a wider Waterfront Regeneration Program to clean up the vacant and polluted riverfront land of Southern Widnes, Cheshire. As it stands by the polluted riverside, the metal flower coupled with wind-powered energy symbolizes a future of harmony between industrial growth and green technology.

4. Aeolian electric

With an aim to bring green technology closer to people, Solar one, a New York based center devoted to green energy, arts and education organized a group of artists to contemplate relationship between people and wind energy and make their very own personal wind turbine. Because of this, Elliott Montgomery’s led Aeolian electric project came up in the shape of fantastic personalized windmills. Elliot’s Wind Tree turbine was linked to a record player. Therefore, it resulted in speeding up and slowing down of the player, as the wind gained or waned in strength. However, this ended up making the audience understand the amount of energy needed for playing a simple gadget.

Joshua space’s Mirror Sail was actually a spinning set of mirrors. However, the perspective being determined by the winds. Furthermore, Garth Zeglin designed a wonderful portable wind turbine Traveler resembling a cross between beach umbrella and a small tent, which could be just opened up and propped anywhere.

5. Power flower by David Edwards

A giant fourteen-foot tall aluminum sunflower structure outside David Edward’s studio in Shaler, Pittsburgh can generate enough power to charge a laptop. The solar panels in the leaves and the petals shaped fins power the batteries. Although these are used to illuminate the structure at night, Edward’s creation is not efficient in terms of power generation. However, admirers say that it has people thinking about green technology. In fact, that is what matters right now. Edward also concurs that primarily it is an artwork because he wanted it to be in shape of a flower and work in the same way.

6. Jansen’s kinetic sculpture

theo jansen mechanical sculpture strandbeest 4

If you happen to be in or around Exmouth this weekend, the seaside resort in East Devon, England, make sure to drop by the beach to see the Ventosa Siamesis in action. Created by the renowned sculptor Theo Jansen, the wind-powered mechanical sculpture, also named Strandbeest, is made from a recycled plastic conduit for electric cables. With no electronic elements included, the movable work of art shows complex articulated locomotion. The sails compress air into reservoirs of recycled plastic bottles, which is released via piston mechanisms.

Jansen erected it in his studio in the Netherlands. From there, it was transported across the North Sea to the UK in two freight containers. These contained six separated sections. For the Cultural Olympiad, Jansen assembled these parts again in Exeter gallery Spacex and the Arts Council. Those failing to see it in Exmouth Beach this weekend may spot it 2-4 July in Princesshay Square in Exeter.

7. Kinetic outdoor sculpture

weather beacon kinetic outdoor sculpture by erik g

Have you ever seen an art installation that flashes lights to expose climatic vacillations? Weather Beacon, created by artist Erik Guzman, is one such kinetic sculpture. It reveals the ins and outs of weather conditions and turns them into art through all four seasons. While, sometimes, you could see winter winds blowing, spring breezes greet you some other time. It’s all based on weather data, collected through radio waves, and the translated visual representations.

Weather Beacon is an eight-foot-tall piece. It is installed at the World Financial Center Plaza for public view, at absolutely no fees. Running from May 10 through December 31, the 24 hours/day art installation asks you all to see it in action.

Final Words

Although wind power is a well-known source of green energy, it is not that popular among general public. However, now some artists and engineers, with intent to promote wind energy, have designed and built a number of creative sculptures that work on wind power to generate useful energy.

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