Exhbition opening: 26 June from 7pm, part of LIFE HACKING exhibition of projects at the KZNSA Gallery.
Where: KZNSA Gallery, 166 Bulwer Road, Glenwood, Durban
Preceded by drop-in and planned workshops and production, also at the KZNSA complex.
FREE SUNSHINE! is an intervention and installation comprising of a temporary electronics lab offering free solar-powered robotics workshops. The project has formed in response to Eskom and Nersa’s development of rules requiring all small scale energy generators under 1 kilowatt to be registered; a process which also involves a fee. As this includes sustainable energy systems such as solar and wind power, the swarm of sun-powered G☼ggaB☼ts made during the workshops will be used as demonstrators against problematic energy regulation and service, by attempting to register all of them in an absurd spam protest.
While the project is being driven and organised by Miranda Moss and Oliver Walkhoff, it is powered by contributions and support from Thulile Gamedze, The Swiss Mechatronic Art Society and broader Maker scene in Switzerland as well as The MakerSpace Durban. The collaboration grew out of Moss’ 2017 3-month residency at the Federal Institute of Forest, Snow and Landscape Studies in Zurich, in association with Artists in Labs.
The first iteration of the project will take place within the context of ISEA / Digifest 2018 as part of the exhibition Life Hacking , with the lab occupying the KZNSA Gallery and surrounds. Transforming the art institution into a process-based educational space, the installation will grow and develop over time while the flow of workshop participants will contrast with the usual dynamics of passive art-viewing visitors.
Conversations with visitors / participants about their relationship to energy and ideas for better constructed systems will be informally documented, brainstormed and developed throughout the workshop, using the lab’s walls as a giant, constantly-evolving, collaborative mind map. Directly after ISEA, there will be a further series of workshops as part of the Igqangi project in Baleni.
Besides accentuating awareness for the need to move away from fossil fuels, FREE SUNSHINE! emphasises issues surrounding privatisation, bad service delivery, anti-poor authoritative decision-making and the historical narrative and weight of energy as a socio-political force, specifically in the context of South Africa. There will also be an emphasis on using found materials, in making sculptures from readily available media in surrounding natural and urban environments.
The predominant aim of this project is the hugely important need to expose specifically young people to electronics – not as consumers, but as active agents. Overall, the workshops will be a playful way of introducing / promoting STEAM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) in an extra-institutional context. To ensure the project grows outside of the context of the physical workshops, documentation and further resources will also be published on the website freesunshine.org and it will be encouraged that the circuits and components will be further played with and hacked, so that users / makers can come up with their own solutions to specific needs and wants.
In a space where easy access to electricity is already complex and problematic – sustainable, self-organised energy solutions are not promoted enough ( in fact, apparently, the opposite). In this context, the project aims to spark an excitement and an awareness of the tangibility of self-organisation regarding both renewable energy usage and learning / playing around with electronics and art making.