Sunflowers – electric gardening

Van Mensvoort
September 18th 2009

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A retail lot in Austin, Texas recently sprouted a field of solar photovoltaic sunflowers that soak up the sun’s rays to provide shade while generating a steady stream of electricity.

Although the gigantic fake flowers are rather illustrative and slightly uncanny – are these supposed to be flowers from the Terminator? – the gardening metaphor is fascinating and promising. Just think about the comparison with food: Growing your own food is a deeply intuitive ancient human longing that can bring one a sense of independence, pleasure and bonding with the environment – not for nothing so many city people still have kitchen gardens. Perhaps in our electricity craving next nature, we should be gardening our own electricity.

The installation was designed by artists Harries/Heder and consists of 15 flower-like solar photovoltaic panels located on a pedestrian and bike path between the village of Mueller and Austin’s highway I-35.

Via Inhabitat. Related: Solar trees, Antenna tree mast safari, conductive bodypaint. Thanks: Stoffel Kuenen.

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Koert van Mensvoort: Is the artificial womb frankenstein-like symbol of (male) engineers trying to steal the magical womb from women? Or… is it a feminist project and needed to reach through equality between the sexes? I personally lean towards the latter. To me it feels like progress if a girl can tell a guy to carry the womb for a change.

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