publications

The New Earthwork, which is currently at the leading edge of sculptural practice, means art for the future of humanity and the planet; it means a new approach to aesthetics and the role of art in our lives; it means a sustainable and vital artistic practice that not only solves problems but dares to ask questions and seek answers across disciplinary boundaries. Working in the land to solve agricultural, habitat, and water problems; using new materials and technologies; employing, and sometimes generating, alternative energy sources; taking action and educating about recycling, frontier biology, and genetic engineering, these artists demonstrate how art can open people’s eyes, drive change, and envision more than one possible future. From University of Washington Press and the International Sculpture Center, publisher of Sculpture magazine.



James Hetherington's Elements, a kinetic sculpture incorporating a functional wind turbine, generates hydraulic energy to help power San Antonio's John Igo Branch Library. Commissioned by the city's Design Enhancement Program, the work was selected for its ability to respond to the building's educational and environmental concerns. "The environmental, energy-generating aspect was integral to the sculptural form," Hetherington says. "Elements was conceived as both an energy demonstration and a work of public art...incorporating a contemporary windmill turbine, as well as a working abstracted interpretation of a historical windmill."

Elements was "created to be functional, to harness wind energy to power the windmill's pump, and to demonstrate 'resources for research.'" The turbine "harvests power from intermittent wind sources to produce electric power." That electricity powers a water pump circulating water through a channel flowing into the library's entrance area and back to a reservoir. The waterway ties the tall sculptural forms to the building (which incorporates recycled building materials and solar elements) and its grounds: "Elements has synergistically combined energy concerns, animal habitat preservation, and other ecological issues without altering the library's theme [of conservation]. The windmill serves as a welcoming anchor,"

Hetherington is fascinated "with creating the illusion of heavy metal that teeters between falling and remaining erect," this concept for Elements also comes from the dualistic nature of windmills: "The windmill is both past and present, a bygone technology and a progressive alternative technology. The project as a whole pay homage to a historical time that cannot be re-created, but has been preserved and reinvented in a modern way."