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International Day of Cooperatives

Did you know that Saturday 4th July 2020 is the International Day of Cooperatives? We think that our Moths To A Flame project is a great example of a cooperative in action, one which has grown significantly over the last few months as we’ve nudged the project to include more digital content.

The Art and Energy business model is a fairly informal collective. We have members and partners with knowledge and experience in all sorts of areas: from Plymouth Energy Community who are proactively seeking change in our domestic energy situations, to Dave and Jo at Lasercutz who are helping us cut solar cells to re-imagine solar panels as beautiful solar artworks, and Miranda who has written and illustrated a beautiful children’s book for Moths to a Flame. One thing that we have in common is a growing concern about the climate crisis, and a desire to see change to benefit our environment. Together we hope to make a difference.

Over the last few months Covid-19 has meant that our meetings have all been held through a computer screen. We have become increasingly confident and fluent in conversing by email and Zoom, but we’ve really missed being able to get together to create and catch up over a solar artwork project and cup of tea! When our partners at PEC told us that the International Co-operative Alliance had chosen the theme of ‘Climate Action’ for 2020, we wanted to do something fun to celebrate and join in… the International Day of Cooperatives has given us the perfect opportunity to get creative  again!

Jenny put together little creative packs that went out in the post to eight of our collective. We then met up one evening via Zoom for a project update and a bit of a tutorial. Each participant painted a moth onto a square of glass, then returned them.

The next stage is to add solar cells nestled within the moth paintings, then combine them to create a single large interactive solar artwork. In the next week or so Jenny will send creative packs out to more of our collective… if there’s one thing it’s made us realise it’s quite how many amazing people we’re working with, this cooperative artwork is set to grow!

As with most of our projects the final piece is already evolving, but that’s the joy of having lots of lovely people cooperating together creatively!

This mini-project was inspired by a conversation with Plymouth Energy Community, who have funded the short film to be released on International Day of Cooperatives, 4th July 2020.

 

Development of the project has been funded by Arts Council England through Jenny’s individual grant. We have found a way to work at a distance, plus Jenny’s using this opportunity to experiment further with the electronics powered by our cooperative solar artwork… keep an eye out here for further progress reports!

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What is Art and Energy? Come and find out at ESI Penryn

Artist Talk
There will also be a talk in the ESI Trevithick room on Friday 27th September from 4-5pm followed by a drinks reception 5-7pm.  This will be a great opportunity to meet artists Chloe Uden and Naomi Wright and finds out more about their working process and how they help people connect with energy through creativity.  During the talk, Art and Energy will share some of their learning and give a demonstration of the construction techniques. 

Places for the talk are limited so please ensure you book early: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/art-and-energy-talk-tickets-67902749953

Exhibition 5th September – 11th October 2019

Art and Energy artists Chloe Uden and Naomi Wright have been collaborating with post-doc researcher Katie Shanks over the past year to challenge the aesthetics of silicon solar PV in order to re-imagine solar panels as places for artworks of the future.  Art and Energy will celebrate the first year of this collaboration by exhibiting a number of Solar Panel Art works in the ESI Creative Exchange Space from September to October 2019.  The ESI Creative Exchange is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm.

Research and collaboration
Naomi and Chloe would love to hear from anyone with ideas for further exploration such as:

– Creative participation and co-design, installations, conversations about nature and light (e.g. moths)
– The tiny scale world with big impacts such as about energy, photosynthesis and in nature.
– The duality in the solar artworks – absorbing energy to power something, a process, or translation, the technology.

If you would like to get in touch please contact them via email at naomi@artandenergy.org and chloe@artandenergy.org

 

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EcoFest Tavistock – We made a solar panel artwork in a day!

Following popular demand, we’ve been exploring ways that we can make solar panel artwork making accessible by lots of people in one day.

We tried out our approach to involving large (ish) numbers of participants over the course of the wonderful EcoFest in Tavistock, and throughout the day, around 75 people aged between 4 and 70 helped us in a variety of ways to make a solar panel artwork live!

The resulting artwork ‘Eyes to the Future’ is able to  charge mobile phones and we’ll be looking for an appropriate home for it later this autumn.

Participants were able to paint, glue, cut, choose, solder, tab up solar cells, build the electrical circuit and then connect everything together.

We would LOVE to do this sort of participatory demonstration again at festivals or events, so if you can think of somewhere appropriate for this sort of activity, please let us know.

Thank you to everyone who got involved, and thanks particularly to Ursula and Trudy for organising such a brilliant event!

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Demo session – Ocean Studios Making Table – Friday 12th July

The Big Bang Fair at Westpoint Arena near Exeter was fairly mind-blowing! Around 6000 children from across the South West visited the event, and about 175 people participated in helping us make solar panel artworks.

Some of the Art and Energy team, Chloe, Naomi and Jenny will be working on the next stage of making these pieces (etching, engraving and painting) in a public demonstration at Plymouth Ocean Studios’ Making Table on Friday the 12th of July from 10am – 3pm.

 

We would love to see you there if you’re able to make it! 

We are very grateful to Exeter Science Park for the opportunity to showcase our work at the Big Bang Fair, and also to meet so many inspiring and enthusiastic people and we look forward to displaying the finished artworks later on in the year.

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Art and Energy in creative exchange with ESI

Over the last year, Art and Energy have collaborated with Katie Shanks at the ESI in Penryn to develop and test our solar artworks. 

We plan to celebrate our first year working with the University through an exhibition in August and September at the Creative Hub in the ESI and we look forward to developing our work further over the coming 12 months as we have been invited to join the University’s fabulous creative exchange programme.

Creative Exchange Programme

 The ESI is leading interdisciplinary research into solutions for problems of environmental change.  Research carried out in the ESI aims to enhance people’s lives by improving their relationship with the environment.  The ESI Creative Exchange programme facilitates collaboration between ESI researchers, community partners and creative practitioners who engage with issues of environment and sustainability in their work. The programme also aims to support Cornwall’s creative industries and stimulate opportunities for public engagement with ESI researchers.

http://www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/community/creativeexchange/