A number of my installations feature renewable energy systems with photo-voltaic (solar) panels and/or wind turbines installed both inside and outside of the gallery space. My earliest completed work of this type was Perpetual Motion (1994), a gallery installation which included a wind turbine, made whilst I was resident Artist in Electronic Imaging at Oxford Brookes University. This work was subsequently exhibited at the Saw Contemporary Arts Centre in Ottawa (1994) and at the Castlefield Gallery, Manchester (1996).
Since then I have continued to work with renewable energy within gallery spaces and in outside locations as a way of establishing relationships with the natural environment and highlighting the flow and transformation of energy from one form to another.
For example, Mothlight (1998) exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in Pisa, the Glass Box Gallery in Salford and at the Rich Women of Zurich in London, featured halogen lamps, solar panels and video monitors in dynamic counter-balance. In 2002 my solar-powered digital video installation For William Henry Fox Talbot (The Pencil of Nature) was commissioned for “Digital Interventions” at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In 2004 with research funding from National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), I developed Interwoven Motion, an outdoor self-powered (solar and wind) video installation for the Foundation for Art & Creative Technology (FACT), with support from Grizedale Arts and the Forestry Commission. In 2005-06, I produced Resurrection, a solar-powered video installation for “Digital Discourse”, an exhibition of work by 8 international artists for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference (CHOGM) in Valletta, with support from the British Council.
In 2011 I developed SunBeam, an outdoor event in collaboration with the astrophysicist Dr Robert Walsh, featuring high-definition video images of the sun from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory projected onto at night onto a large solar array. Aeolian Processes (2013), a solar-powered sound installation was commissioned for “Art in Your Park” and sited in Highfields Park, Nottingham and most recently a revised version of this work, Aeolian Processes II (Box Revealing the Sound of its Own Making (2014) was exhibited in “La Lune: Energy Producing Art” at Long Reef, in New South Wales, Australia.
Some of the Impossible Objects (2016-2021) include renewables, such as Impossible Objects 1, 2 and 8. (see below for complete list of works.)
Link to Chris Meigh-Andrews, Digital Moving Image Installations and Renewable Energy; 1994-2018, Technology, Design and the Arts – Opportunities and Challenges, R. Earnshaw et al. (eds.), Springer Series on Cultural Computing,(pp.271-294)
Link to extract discussing the work of Chris Meigh-Andrews from A History of Solar Power in Art and Design, Alex Nathanson, Routledge, London and New York, 2021.
A complete list of my installations that feature renewable energy:
Perpetual Motion (1994). Wind turbine and wind machine, interior gallery space.
Fire, Ice & Steam (1995). Solar panels and artificial light, interior gallery space.
Mothlight (1998) & Mothlight 2 (2001). Solar panels and artificial light, interior gallery space.
For William Henry Fox-Talbot (2002). Solar panels, daylight, interior gallery space, internet and exterior.
Interwoven Motion (2004). Solar panels and wind turbine, sun and wind, outdoor environment.
Resurrection (2005). Solar panels and artificial light, interior gallery space.
Turing Test (2010). Solar-powered turntables and artificial light, interior gallery space.
SunBeam (2011) & SunBeam 2 (2013). Solar tracker array and daylight, outdoor environment.
Aeolian Processes (2013). Solar panels and daylight, outdoor environment and Aeolian Processes II (Box Revealing the Sound of its Own Making) (2014).
Impossible Object Number 1 (Imagine,No Pollution) (2016-17). Solar panels, artificial light, electric motor, music box, interior gallery space.
Impossible Object Number 2 (Blue Sky Thinking), 2017-19. Video Installation: LCD screen, media player, wind turbine, battery and electric fan.
Impossible Object Number 8 (Solar powered Bicycle Helmet), 2021. Object/sound sculpture: Bicycle helmet, solar panels and electric horn.