Design Team: Andrea Legge, Deb Lewis, Murray Legge
Electric Meadow was one of 25 shortlisted proposals for Land Art Generator Initiative 2012: a design competition for power-generating public art ideas at the future Freshkills Park on Staten Island, formerly Freshkills landfill.
Electric Meadow is a safe, quiet kinetic sculpture sited within a wild meadow and activated by prevailing winds, birds and people. A swaying field of tall steel rods are anchored at their bases through copper coil generators housed in low, rugged cylinders which are hidden by tall meadow grasses. Rod movement is perpetuated by a pivot-return spring mechanism and the tensile qualities of the rods themselves. Each individual rod/generator has an estimated annual production of approximately 452 Kwh, and a 100-square-foot array could produce at least 110-Kilowatts of usable power. Further power-generating ideas for the rods could include top housings for micro generators that use wave-motion technology, or developing the rod itself from piezoelectric materials.
Electric Meadow is vastly scalable in both area and unit configuration. Each rod/generator is anchored by shallow connectable pipe-feet that stabilize the rod upright and carry wiring. Once covered with earth, connected footings create a stable underground system much like rhizome roots of meadow grasses. Stems and pipe-feet are adjustable in height, length and orientation, and thus adaptable to all seasons and slopes.
This project presents an interactive power generating system that is human in scale and carries little environmental impact once constructed. Electric Meadow presents no danger to wildlife and enhances the habitat for certain bird species, eg. some of the rods could host light bird boxes or feeders or arrays of perches for nesting. The formal effects produced by Electric Meadow mimic the sounds and movements of the surrounding natural environment.