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.