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Primal Sonic Visions by Bill Fontana

Primal Sonic Visions by Bill Fontana
Photo Credit: Venice Science Gallery, Italy


Joan Sullivan – a Canadian-based renewable energy photographer, blogging at Artists and Climate Change – has opened my senses to diverse artists working to help us embrace our transition to a 100 percent renewable energy economy. In her post, “Renewable Energy Soundscapes,” published on July 12, 2018, Sullivan introduces us to Bill Fontana’s Primal Sonic Visions, now on exhibition at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2018.

Seventy-one-year-old Bill Fontana, an American composer and sound art pioneer, told Sullivan that the project, commissioned by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), transformed him as an artist through his experimentation with moving images and invention of a new visual language.

Primal Sonic Visions prompts deep reflection on the power and effectiveness of energy capable of ensuring the future of our planet and triggers an emotional response to the environment, now under violent attack from the effects of climate change and atmospheric agents,” Fontana said at the opening of the exhibition in May 2018. “As people enter the space, they are met with an emotional experience that at first instills a sense of wonder, and later transforms into a deep reflection of the potential and power of these energy sources to be used in securing a future for our planet.”

To experience a little of Primal Sonic Visions, click on each of the links below to view and listen to Fontana’s immersive videos, captured from renewable energy sites in Austria, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

See more at Fontana’s website. It’s a transformative experience that opens a window to a new future on Planet Earth.

The global energy transformation is already underway but, as IRENA points out, it’s not happening fast enough. In 2017, Iceland and Bonaire (a small island off the coast of Venezuela) led the way with 100 percent of their electricity supply from renewable energy. Norway and Scotland follow with 98 percent and 68 percent, respectively. The USA – the world’s richest nation and second-largest carbon dioxide polluter, after China – lags far behind with only 18 percent.

In commissioning Primal Sonic Visions, IRENA seeks to use art as a powerful medium to help accelerate our global transition. As Sullivan notes in her blog post:

“This [carbon-free] energy is literally bubbling right below our feet and shining down upon us from above. It promises a future of limitless potential. It is free for the taking. Enough for everyone.

“What the hell are we waiting for?”