Shelter Fallout/Spark Harvest

photovoltaic panels, projected video, wood, stump, rock, powered speakers

A blackly humorous and somewhat unlikely combination of environmentalism and post-nuclear apocalypse, Shelter Fallout/Spark Harvest considers the possibilities for energy harvesting in the face of catastrophic events, exploring hope, fatalism and futility in equal parts. Voltage produced by video projected onto the photovoltaic panels is realised as sound through direct input to an amplifier (ie, without the use of any kind of sound-producing electronics. See also Hot Shadow).


Installation view, Sounding the Future, UTS Gallery, 2017. Photo: David Lawrey, courtesy UTS Arts


Installation view, Sounding the Future, UTS Gallery, 2017. Photo: David Lawrey, courtesy UTS Arts

Sounding the Future catalogue entry:

Be prepared, but how prepared?

Does catastrophe spell the end of responsible energy, or only indicate that we will need to be even more diligent in a post-apocalypse future? Can fallout from a nuclear disaster (be that induced or accidental) actually be utilised to help us survive the resulting nuclear winter? Could lava spewing from an erupting volcano provide us with power while we wait for the situation to stabilise? With global warming increasing the frequency of thunderstorms and bushfires, will harvesting fleeting bursts of energy from lightning strikes and flying cinders help us cope with the problems at hand? Can we source a few precious watts from fiery asteroids as they pummel the earth?

Is the pursuit of resourcefulness in the face of environmental catastrophe a matter of necessity or simply gallows humour? Maybe it signals the ultimate move towards a renewable energy future. In the event that we find ourselves huddled in shelters above or below ground, facing any number of protracted and fluctuatung scenarios, we’ll need to grab energy whenever and however we can.