Project 929: Mapping the Solar
by Joseph DeLappe
Augmented Bike Ride as Performative Intervention
May 19th through 29th, 2013
The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that a 100 by 100 mile square solar farm in the American Southwest would be “more than enough to meet the country’s entire energy demand.” Project 929 took place from May 19th through 29th of 2013. Media artist and activist Joseph DeLappe took a 460 mile bicycle ride to drag a piece of chalk to physically and symbolically draw a line around an area that would be large enough to create the worlds largest solar farm – one that could provide enough energy for the entire United States.“Project 929” references the 928 nuclear tests that took place at the Nevada Test Site from 1951 to 1992.
New technologies virtually mapped and allowed others to follow me online as I rode. A DIY, solar cell array was mounted on the extended platform of my bicycle to provide energy for portable locative media, video recording and live streaming where possible (cellular coverage is minimal in much of the desert region where the ride takes place). A GoPro camera mounted on a boom at the bicycle’s rear recorded a “third person” point of view; a second camera focused on the chalk as it drew continuously on road, a third camera was mounted on my helmet.
Conceptually, Project 929: Mapping the Solar is an ideational and political exercise towards symbolically representing the possible, physically re-imagining geographical space for energy sustainability. To map this desire – become a moving point, line of battle, contour of an idea, an edge, line of communication, measure or guide – is a driving principle.
Through enacting an iconographic event to creatively illustrate a little understood scientific proposition, Mapping the Solar will foster dialogue, interaction, knowledge and perhaps, one day, the serious consideration of the widespread utilization of solar technologies as a practical alternative in the United States.
Joseph DeLappe is a Professor of the Department of Art at the University of Nevada where he directs the Digital Media program. Working with electronic and new media since 1983, his work in online gaming performance, sculpture and electromechanical installation have been shown in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. In 2006 he began the project dead‐in‐iraq , to type consecutively, all names of America’s military casualties from the war in Iraq into the America’s Army first person shooter online recruiting game. He also directs the iraqimemorial.org project, an ongoing web based exhibition and open call for proposed memorials to the many thousand of civilian casualties from the war in Iraq. More recently, in 2013, he rode a specially equipped bicycle to draw a 460 mile long chalk line around the Nellis Air Force Range to surround an area that would be large enough to create a solar farm that could power the entire United States.
The video was provided by Mr DeLappe.
The work was submitted by Joseph DeLappe on 20 March 2014.