This paper explores the ideas of mobility and power using the case study Pedal Power for Bybrua, commissioned for ‘Stavanger 2008’ – Capital of Culture. Three pedal powered generators were made available to the community of Pedersgata. During daylight hours these devices were located in a number of public sites and situations. During nighttime, the stored energy was released as part of a pedestrian lighting system installed beneath the City Road Bridge ‘Bybrua’. This paper will focus on the only mobile generator; Bridgit known for its capacity to offer transit from one side of the bridge to the other. In an oil rich nation what would it mean to introduce more modest forms of energy production? How would the installation of a human powered lighting system change the way people perceive the underpass space? How might ‘human power’ change human behavior? What might the social, economic, and environmental benefits be? This project demonstrates a number of practical interventions inspired by the critical writings of Ivan Illich and Henri Lefebvre. These sculptural devices allow the problems of contemporary mobility to be seen as generative opportunities; both in terms of dialogue and energy.
Throughout the World the number of large-scale wind and solar projects is proliferating. Such schemes dwarf their surroundings and often face opposition from local communities. Whilst this drive towards a more sustainable energy mix ensures a bright future for renewables, the ‘passive energy gain’ offered (embodied by solar, tidal, and wind power) also has the potential to reinforce a public malaise in terms of consumption. “The energy crisis cannot be overwhelmed by more energy inputs”. (Illich, 1974: 22) The fundamental question then, has to be that of confronting the public with their levels of consumption and reducing those levels to a point where they are sustainable.
- Justin Carter, Sculpture & Environmental Art, Glasgow School of Art, UK
Full text (PDF) p. 40-45