Fruit and energy farms in a public square

Artist: marjetica potrc och stealth Tags: Permanent art

Curator

Joa Ljungberg

Tvärs över Thunmanskolans långa gård sträcker sig en mångskiftande energifarm. Vindkraftverk, solpaneler och fruktträd skjuter upp vertikalt medan en träbrygga förbinder delarna horisontellt och utvidgas till estrad. På de stora rumsbildande trädäcken kan man umgås och plocka frukt. Inne i skolbyggnaden kan man se hur mycket elektricitet som kraftverket bidragit med till det befintliga elnätet.

Konstnären och arkitekten Marjetica Potrč har tillsammans med Ana Dzokic och Marc Neelen från arkitektgruppen Stealth gjort en total omgestaltning av skolans utomhusmiljö. Resultatet är gränsöverskridande på flera sätt. Konstnärerna blandar arkitekturens krav på funktionalitet med konstens roll som bärare av budskap. Projektet åskådliggör också kommunikationen från gräsrotsnivå upp till samhällets överbyggnad när skolan med sin lokalt producerade energi drar sitt strå till den stora och toppstyrda elförsörjningsstacken.

Across the street from the Thunmanskolan oblong schoolyard in Knivsta lies an energy farm leading up to a fruit farm. Windmills, solar panels and trees spring up vertically while a bridge links the parts horizontally and widens into a theatrical stage. The wood boards of this spatial formation are suitable for meeting friends and harvesting fruit. It is also possible to contemplate photosynthesis, the molec­ular structure of which is depicted as a pattern in the asphalt. Inside the school building a display shows how much electricity the power plant has contributed to the existing power grid.

The artist and architect Marjetica Potrc has totally redesigned the school’s outdoor environment, together with Ana Dfokic and Marc Neelen from the architect team STEALTH and the landscape architect Ingalill Nahringbauer. The result is interdisciplinary in several ways. The artists have blended the architectural requirements of functionality with the role of art as the bearer of messages. The project also demonstrates communication from the grass roots to the social superstructure when the school’s production of energy makes its small contribution to the large, hierarchically governed electricity grid.

The energy farm, the fruit farm and the theatre together provide a forum for community and discussions on sustainable resource management for anyone who happens to pass by the schoolyard, not just the pupils. The basic concept behind the artistic design has been to create an environment with a social and educational dimension, and to stimulate those who visit the site to explore the potential of the public sphere. Marjetica Potrc and STEALTH often incorporate self-organisation as a method for problem-solving, claiming that the future belongs to sustainable small-scale communities and a new balance between urban and rural.

Fruit and Energy Farms in a Public Square sends the message to the community as a whole that even a small collective can make a difference, since the design is a good example of environment­ friendly energy production and democratic forms for being together. Devoting time to the farms becomes a symbolic, but important act that demonstrates commitment. The school should be an environment that challenges pupils to examine their own attitude to the world around them. Thunmanskolan wants to enlist contemporary art to aid them in giving pupils the tools they need for this task.

Magdalena Dziurlikowska