Energy park with a difference
Between 12th May and 24th September 2010 Essen residents and visitors to the city were offered an unusual view: four islands appeared in the middle of Lake Baldeney. Together they formed the Ruhr atoll – a highlight of the Ruhr.2010 Capital of Culture programme. Each of the floating works of art was conceived jointly by an artist and a scientist. Entitled “Art is energy – energy is movement” the seemingly rather odd partnerships produced their combined visions of energy. Adding a further energy source to water, wind and sun: human creativity – as the curator Norbert Bauer put it. Art enthusiasts and the simply curious were able to circumnavigate the Ruhr atoll in pedalos and rowing boats. A limited number of visitors was permitted to land on the islands and inspect them.
Iceberg: the artist Andreas Kaiser and the polar explorer Dr. Lars Kindermann brought the Antarctic to Essen, by launching a plastic iceberg on the water. They integrated a container at the heart of the sculpture. This enabled visitors to experience life and work on a research station in the Antarctic via a webcam.
Submarine: just next door, part of a submarine that had run aground projected from the water. This represented a political take on the topic of energy as conceived by Andreas M. Kaufmann and media scientist Hans Ulrich Reck: their submarine symbolically returned the exported wars and the potential for conflict over energy resources to Europe.
Tea house: Kazuo Katase and Michael Wilkens, professor of architecture, created two islands. The two pontoons linked by a bridge symbolised spirit and nature: one pontoon bore a tea house, the other a garden. The project sparked a West meets East dialogue about life on our earth.
Laboratory: artist couple Ilya and Emilia Kabakov created an improvised energy laboratory with windmills on Lake Baldeney. Their concept was realised without any scientific support. The reason: Ilya Kabakov, who grew up in Stalin’s Russia, focuses on the discrepancy between scientific or ideological perfection and the imperfection of human reality.