12 June 2008

Energy Fields

Yesterday I received an email at work about the falling storage in New Zealand's hydro lakes and the need to conserve power. You can check the daily status of the lakes here. I thought I'd have a look at the actual lakes...

Here is the CLYDE DAM on the Clutha River, forming Lake Dunstan. Notice the historic MINING SITE downstream towards Alexandra. This was one of several controversial hydro schemes of the era, another being the Manapouri Dam, which was stopped, perhaps partly thanks to a hugely popular protest song by John Hanlon. Check out the frosty water and wafting clouds of the SITE TODAY, which is completely shrouded if you zoom out. The most impressive is LAKE PUKAKI, with its glassy water and long SCULPTED CHUTE that rivals anything being done in the Nevada Desert.

Of particular interest now is THIS DAM, near the town of Horahora. As with many hydro projects, the harnessing of nature is at the expense of other sites that become flooded, washing away local histories. The story of Horahora has now been retold through Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena's 2007 project, Aniwaniwa, which recalls the flooding of the Horahora power station where Graham's grandfather worked. The exhibition catalogue has some great images, including the one above, of the power station's last stand.

So I started looking for other large power-generating land installations. There's a lot of solar activity going on in the Mojave Desert. Solar One and Solar Two make for good MAP VIEWING. There's something intriguing about looking from a satellite at what are essentially mirrors but are absorbing and storing the light that is essential to looking (note to self: re-visit Robert Smithson's writings). Lots of good IRRIGATION CIRCLES just to the east too. Someone has just pointed out to me how much they resemble Graham's Tangaroa sculpture, named after the Maori god of the sea. And there's no escaping the resemblence of HALF-CIRCLE irrigation fields to Gretchen Albrecht's lunette paintings.

The PS10 project in Spain (pictured) has a particularly sculptural look, but unfortunately ISN'T VISIBLE on google maps just yet. This BBC report gives a full rundown on how the tower works and I can't wait to see how it looks from above with the jets of light and surrounding "aura". Also yet to be added to the GOOGLE MAP is Nellis Solar Power Plant, the largest of its kind in North America. Nellis is part of the Nellis Air Force Base on the outskirts of Las Vegas and has all kinds of INTERESTING CONFIGURATIONS of military HARDWARE SITTING AROUND.

Images: Brett Graham and Rachael Rakena, Aniwaniwa (still), 2007; Horahora Power Station being flooded as villagers look on, 1947; PS10 tower power plant, SanlĂșcar la Mayor, Spain.

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Art from Space is an exploration of art-related phenomena that manifests in interesting ways on Google’s aerial maps. It is also an experiment in curatorial practice; collecting, presenting and contextualising items in ways that users can explore, free of curator-imposed framing and sequencing. This blog is Art from Space’s developmental musings made public, where items are introduced to the project in real time, rather than awaiting the grand unveiling of a completed exhibition. Specific locations of interest are highlighted in CAPS and linked to a map for further exploration. Visit the mother ship HERE.