Tilting at Turbines and Urban Turbines were a series of design experiments engaging the public in conversations, installations and immersive performances about the perceived beauty of turbines versus their value, through playful comedy and art.
Young children already enjoy personifying industrial objects like train engines already occurs in popular culture – they relished learning about turbines and energy through imaginative play – by pretending they were tracking and observing families of visiting rare birds.
And in urban homes – cities use so much energy but we don’t really get to see the truly large turbines – let’s bring the outside in: visitors to a pop up craft stall were able explore using turbines as a decorative art motif by viewing a small display of fashions and homewares and creating their own, using laser-cut pendants and chains, rubber stamps, ribbon and note paper, and make their own.
After initial piece for the Access Space 20x20 exhibition in 2014, I began to explore public responses to turbines in rural vs urban environments, and after developing a set of stencils and screenprint/wheatpaste designs she took this motif further into home-based decorative arts, fashion and decor, and the piece evolved into a playful and surreal public engagement enquiry around wind turbines as endangered wildlife. This project featured as an installation companion piece for a related children’s engineering project weekend at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester during the 2015 Science Festival in partnership with Siemens. It was then developed into two installations, a workshop and a public panel talk with engineers and psychologists from the University of Sheffield for Festival of the Mind.