We've seen first-hand the resistance that can arise from artistic renderings of wind turbines that treat their subjects as aesthetically pleasing, so we won't be surprised if we hear that English artist Emily Farncombe's Windance exhibition at the Wellington Arts Centre in New Zealand has attracted criticism from wind opponents in the country. Farncombe's multimedia exhibit of sculpture, film and photography celebrates the beauty the artist sees in wind turbines, and in a recent interview, she stated her support for a wind farm development proposed for her adopted home town. She also noted she was fine with people viewing her art work as a statement of that support:
I want to link man and machine to make these energy makers seem more appealing to people, so that they see wind as a good way of making clean energy. I think linking an aesthetical aspect to it, such as a dancer, is a good way of communicating this....Wellington-based blogger Tom Beard notes that the exhibit itself has not received any direct criticism from opponents of the proposed wind farm, but he implies that such disapproval will probably surface: one of the leaders of the opposition group, Anton Oliver, is also a "celebrity arts maven" in New Zealand. Beard claims that opponents are advancing their own aesthetic agenda, and it centers around a sentimental view of "landscape" as an object of beauty rather than an ecological entity.
It wasn't my original plan to make a point out of the wind farm that is proposed for Wellington. I was initially unaware of project west wind, even before I fell in love with the Manawatu wind farm. However now that I know about it I would like Windance to indicate support for the development of the project. Wind energy is a positive way forward.
Regardless of what happens in New Zealand's wind wars, Farncombe's exhibit sounds like a complex creative interrogation of the connections between beauty, practicality and ingenuity. Windance will be on display at the Arts Centre from July 25 through August 8. ::Wellington City Council News via WellUrban