Solar Powered Vernacular House 2013-2017
a solar powered installation and
think tank for the roof
of the MSU Zagreb

workshop: SPVH WORKSHOP II
RENEWABLE ENERGY / RENEWABLE CULTURE /
'The Road to Environmental Justice'

Zagreb, Croatia: Museum of Contemporary Art
28-29.05.2015

SPVH Workshop I
RENEWABLE ENERGY / RENEWABLE CULTURE
"Sustainable for whom?"

Zagreb, Croatia: Museum of Contemporary Art
28-20.11.2014
speakers/schedule: Workshop I Guide
 
SPVH Conference
RENEWABLE ENERGY / RENEWABLE CULTURE


 
November 29-30, 2013
speakers: Conference Guide


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The Solar Powered Vernacular House is an exhibition pavilion and think tank venue for renewable energies and sustainability issues. Based on a traditional Croatian wooden house, it has been developed for the roof of the MSU in Zagreb.
                                                                                                         
Imagining a better world where renewable energy sources like wind and solar are relieving some of the strain being imposed on nature - and therefore back upon ourselves - one has to ask the question whether human beings are capable of behaving in a sensible way. Or is the human need to transcend itself and its current condition such that it can only over-indulge, thereby missing the chance once again.

As part of a body of interactive sculptural installations which derive their power from solar energy, I wish to depict how our world might appear if we fail to break out of the vicious circle of events and established routines for structuring society as we know them today. I also wish to remind of the fact that many of these solutions and possibilities representing sustainable lifestyles have already been available for extended use for over 30-40 years, and in other cases much longer. I hope to raise awareness that the unavoidable transition to renewable energies will not turn into the next wave of elitists exploiting the masses, but will be developed in a way to serve the needs of the many.

Inevitably the MSU in Zagreb will need to outfit itself in the future with solar
 panels and thereby capitalize on renewable energies, reducing the financial burden of powering the various institutional activities. Within this context I propose a pavilion structure, a vernacular house, as an integrated element of these renewable energy systems. This structure, shaped like and with a construction similar to a traditional Croatian house, is completely covered with solar panels in one or more colors. The long southern wall has no windows, having five doors instead. The doors are also distinguished in that they are in motion, opening (via motion sensors) as passers-by approach the house and closing behind them after they enter. In front of and inside this pavilion, the spectator/passer-by is confronted by a series of objects representing some of the challenges in life: a door to nothingness, a pleasure chair, a barking watchdog, a polygraph machine, a running treadmill, a vibrator and an electric chair. Embodying issues relating to desires, honesty, guilt, and responsibility, the totality of these installations refers to the need of humans to live well and fulfill their search for pleasure and happiness, and their struggle in doing so.
 
All of these objects, as well as the doors, are powered from the solar panels on the pavilion. When presented independent of the pavilion structure, the objects all have their own integrated solar panel(s) as energy source, and are self-sufficient.

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SPVH, animated drawing, 2014

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SPVH, animated drawing, 2013




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SPVH, photomontage, 2011









David Smithson 2011-2014, Berlin