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SOLART GLOBAL NETWORK The SolArt Global Network '95: Artworks for the Solar Age Jürgen Claus The quest for a solar age is defined by a general change in ecological consciousness , a decline in nonrenewable energy resources, an extreme increase in global and local pollution, a strong demand for decentralization in political as well as energy-related decisions and the rising demand of the underprivileged three-quarters of the world to participate in a higher quality of living. This quest for change cannot be based on traditional, nonrenewable energies. The solar age, in this respect, will be defined by a new policy of installing and using technologies that directly harvest the sun's radiation. To be fully effective in 2025, all plans for reforming our energy situation must be put into practice now. The estimated 10 billion people who will inhabit the planet in 2025 will not be able to live a human life if our present Western standards of energy consumption remain the same. This is far more than a technical problem, which is why I am talking about a new definition of art in and for the solar age. A loosely connected group of artists today is fully aware of the necessary changes and is The SolArt Global Network section of Leonardo makes visible the activities of a group of artists, engineers, scientists and scholars partidpating in an international project. The participants in the SolArt Global Network are dedicated to provoking the cultural changes necessary to move our societiesfrom a dependence on petroleum-based sources of energy to a dependence on renewable resources . Forfurther information on the SolArt Global Network, contactJürgen Claus and Nora Claus at Centre Overoth, Overoth 5, B-4837 Baelen, Belgium. Tel: (32) 87-743791; fax: (32) 87-743796. Additional information can also be obtained on the Leonardo World Wide Web Site, located at . Fig. 1. Jürgen and Nora Claus, Carousel ofthe Suns, installation at the Artists and Light exhibition in Rheims, Germany, argon gas writing, laser light, 530 mz , 1991. An example of the work that has led to the Clauses' organization of the SolArt Global Network '95 project. The installation was bathed in a bluish light, with the argon gas writing serving as a metaphor announcing the advent of the solar age. The sun forms pictured here were arranged in circles that rotated slowly as a laser beam traveled across the space. contributing to new solutions, new materials and new strategies for art in the solar age. The transition to a solar age must stabilize our civilizations, and in order to do so, it must be a cultural transition. The goal of ecological stability in the next millennium must rely on cultural change if it is to be seriously anchored within the different societies of our planet. Thus, we must evaluate or reevaluate the educational ground for advanced visual studies. In his book Entropy: A New World View (1980), Jeremy Rifkin (author of Biosphere Politics) postulated a new definition of education in the solar age [1]. This definition involves a reduction of the flows of information and energy. The interconnection of data—the interrelations of phenomena that the student must evaluate—is more important than the expansion of data storage, according to this view. I strongly believe that studies of natural systems strengthen our creative understanding and enable students to create the most advanced biotechnological systems. We can find supporting ideas of correlated systems within the very heart of art history. Industrial ecology, which accompanies environmental stability, aims at an environmental design involving environmentally sustainable technologies— whether it is known as "biotechnique" design (Frederick Kiesler, 1938), "biomorphic" design (Victor Papanek, 1984), "biomimetic" design (Harden B.C. Tibbs, 1992) [2] or, as I prefer to call it, art in the solar age, biospheric art. Art is part of the continuous critical and creative reflection of our life within Jürgen Claus (artist, writer, educator), Centre Overoth, Overoth 5, B-4837 Baelen, Belgium. Received 27 October 1994.© 1995 ISAST LEONARDO, Vol. 28, No. 2, pp. 143-147, 1995 143 the biosphere. The biosphere idea regards living matter in its entirety as the domain for the accumulation and transformation of the sun's energy...


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