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University artist joins the new Energy Revolution

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Published on 10, April, 2024

Photo by Torus Torus Studios
Photo by Torus Torus Studios

A kinetic sculpture co-created by artist and University of Sunderland lecturer Colin Rennie with Alexandra Carr of Torus Torus Studios has been unveiled at a landmark new gallery which explores how the world can generate and use energy more sustainably to curb climate change. 

Positioned above the heart of the Science Museum London's new Energy Revolution Gallery, uniting science and art, the sculpture Only Breath serves as a metaphor for humanity's responsibility in combating climate change, urging visitors to reflect on our individual and collective role in achieving balance within the global carbon cycle. The title draws inspiration from the Rumi poem of the same name, symbolising the world's breath and our journey towards sustainability.

Only Breath was commissioned by The Science Museum, London, as the centrepiece of the Energy Revolution: Adani Green Energy Gallery. The gallery examines the rapid energy transition and decarbonisation needed globally to limit climate change. The gallery encourages visitors to reflect on past energy transitions and the pioneers who dreamed what might be possible, while imagining the energy use that will shape our low carbon future. 

At the core of the work lies a fusion of art and science, incorporating principles of biomimicry and renewable energy technology. The sculpture's tessellating structure mirrors the efficiency of organic forms, highlighting the importance of nature-inspired sustainable energy production.

Comprising of 23 moving stainless steel frames containing 92 windblown native timber panels, including timber from trees felled by storm Arwen, the sculpture moves slowly and gracefully, initiating from an almost imperceptible start, gradually speeding up, then slowing again to an almost imperceptible stop. The underside of the panels features subtle two-way mirrors reclaimed from a previous project, forming a concave lens reminiscent of solar arrays, reflecting and focusing on the viewer, inviting introspection amidst the gallery's dynamic atmosphere. 

From its symbolic spiral motif to its innovative use of two-way mirrors, recycled, recyclable, and reclaimed materials, sourced locally to minimise environmental impact, the sculpture embodies the principles of holistic thinking advocated for in the Energy Revolution Gallery.

Colin Rennie, who is also a Senior Lecturer in Artist Designer Maker: Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland, said: “This was by far the most complex piece I’ve ever been involved in. Making something move for 15 years is a challenge, but with such an incredible team working with us it’s been an absolute privilege to see it resolve so well.”

Only Breath is now open to the public and can be found on Level 2 of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London.

Watch a video of the sculpture in motion here: Torustorusstudios.com and the gallery here: Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery