A group of artists in 2010 showed how us how to think beyond conventional landscapes.
Landscape photos are so difficult to get right when traveling. How often have you found yourself trying to edit out a wind turbine or electrical tower from what is otherwise an image of bucolic beauty. I have even marked the route of the high-powered electrical lines on our maps so that I knew which areas to avoid when renting in Europe. I didn’t want my view of the beautiful French countryside marred with a series of large and to me ugly structures impinging on my carefully chosen locations.
When I look from a distance at the enormous wind turbines they do have a certain minimalist elegance about them, but up close they become very dominating and noisy, reminding me of my nightmares. I think it is a conceptualisation of a modern equivalent to the plants in The Day of the Triffids and I keep waiting for these structures to haul themselves out of the ground and stomp across the landscape in threatening regiments.
I would not wish to live near a landscape of these overwhelming and noisy monsters but I was amazed that a couple I saw recently on a Grand Designs program were happily building their house within vision and probably sound of a whole army of these industrial windmills. As they had built beside a small aircraft runway, the noise of the Scottish wind and the planes might be drown out the turbine noise. They certainly didn’t think they impinged on their quality of life.
When I was discussing the issue of green energy with my very environmentally concerned nephew who is into all things green and sustainable he expressed admiration for the wind turbine and said he could reconcile living near them despite the fact that they kill the birds that he enjoys studying.
Australia, particularly in the established suburbs (and I write from Brisbane) lags behind in the installation of underground infrastructure for power lines. As I write this I had a lightbulb moment when I realised this would solve some of my possum control problems. But that is whole other issue. My grudge with overhead power lines is that they are so ugly. Even said nephew agreed with me on that. I remember driving in the country and after seeing a line of electrical towers nearby, Andy and I discussed what design techniques an architect or engineer might use to ‘beautify’ these necessary but industrial visions. We came up with coloured steel for camouflage; going underground, a sensible but expensive option and growing flowers, vines or vegetables around the base high but never did we imagine what a group of students did in Germany. Check out the images on lostateminor. Here is a new outlet for displaying the creativity and skills of our artists limited only by their imagination. I am sure both mainstream and grunge including graffiti artists would be keen to participate in this industrial challenge. I imagine our Occ’ Health & Safety people would have conniptions but why camouflage when you can make something pretty.