Energy sculpture, Zweibrücken
An energy tree grows in Zweibrücken.
ZWEIBRÜCKEN (DE) - In 2010, the Zweibrücken Gasworks company existed for 150 years. To celebrate this anniversary the current utility and amenities company decided to donate a roundabout to the city of Zweibrücken. The design would in some way deal with the present, the future and the company itself. Kerstin Molter and Mark Linnemann translated this ambitious brief into a high-tech energy tree, 'an optimistic symbol of our time'.
What is most striking about the object, called 'Hello Future', is its futuristic form. Polished and high-tech, the E-tree rises in the middle of the roundabout. The conic tubes of the stem and branches are intended to refer to the infrastructure needed to supply a city with its lifeblood. Yet, at first sight, it mostly looks like a science fiction cliché from the time that a journey to the moon was only in the imagination.
Still, naïveté has a certain charm as well. Where art in the public space often refrains to appeal to the general public, this sculpture forms a remarkable exception. By using a recognizable formal language, it effortlessly appeals to passersby. The playful element of movement – the static blue strips on the pedestal become animated when seen from a moving car – evoke a rather childlike wonder.
As Molter and Linnemann describe it: 'Just like the big blue water drops, it is a reference to the water supply system of Zweibrücken. On purpose, the design remains suspended between figurative and abstraction, opening a large space of interpretation, not proscribing what to see. We want to open the field of interpretation and association as much as possible.'
At night the E-tree is illuminated with energy gathered during the day. According to the designers, the sculpture therefore symbolizes 'the coming change to a sustainable energy economy'. A nice statement, but mainly for the benefit of the client, for whom the E-tree forms a conspicuous showpiece. Much more will be needed besides a couple of photovoltaic cells to keep an economy based on sustainable energy going.
Monday | 31 October | 2011 | Germany | Kim Hoefnagels