From Fiction to Fact:
Solarpunk began life as a science-fiction genre:
Although this is not science-fiction:
It is very much an aesthetic movement:
From its Manifesto from 2014:
- The visual aesthetics of Solarpunk are open and evolving. As it stands, it is a mash-up of the following:
- 1800s age-of-sail/frontier living (but with more bicycles)
- Creative reuse of existing infrastructure (sometimes post-apocalyptic, sometimes present-weird)
- Appropriate technology
- Art Nouveau
- Hayao Miyazaki
- Jugaad-style innovation from the non-Western world
- High-tech backends with simple, elegant outputs
Which shows that Solarpunk addresses how we live through both art and science:
Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?” The aesthetics of solarpunk merge the practical with the beautiful, the well-designed with the green and wild, the bright and colorful with the earthy and solid.
Solarpunk can be utopian, just optimistic, or concerned with the struggles en route to a better world — but never dystopian. As our world roils with calamity, we need solutions, not warnings. Solutions to live comfortably without fossil fuels, to equitably manage scarcity and share abundance, to be kinder to each other and to the planet we share.
At once a vision of the future, a thoughtful provocation, and an achievable lifestyle.
From Art to Science… and back again:
Here’s an interesting question on a Reddit thread from a couple of years ago – with a few more ideas to follow:
I am a 19M CS Major in university right now. I absolutely love the idea of solarpunk but I’m not an environmental engineer, or a sustainable energy engineer, I don’t build buildings or plant crops, etc. What role do I play in making a sustainable future? What role does CS play? Things like A.I.? Thanks for the responses, I am trying to learn!
And here’s a set of brilliant visual ideas – just click on the link:
Dustin Jacobus is a Belgian illustrator, interested in biomimicry, sustainable design and futurism. In the art-research project Universitas, he combines these themes and creates a futuristic world in which a fictional researcher H. Bottlefield, explores eight solarpunk cities. Jacobus graduated as an industrial designer and started his career as a technical illustrator and 3D CAD designer. He combines his artwork with a job as an educational expert in drinking water.
With more inspiration from an up-and-running bit of design:
The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, that contains an exceptional large variety of interconnected eco-regions with a high degree of biodiversity is a biodiversity hotspot and was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997.
Including just down the road:
A great place for art and science to meet has been in competitions:
And finally, there are several projects bringing it all together – including this from 2019:
The ongoing program “Solar Punk Futures” [is] an initiative of Ellery Studio Berlin that brings together scientists, researchers, and visual thinkers to examine the energy transition from a Solarpunk perspective. It asks how we can let go of dystopian scenarios and, instead, envision a carbon-free future, and the new forms of social organization that decarbonization will engender.
Solarpunk is a literary and visual movement that originated in Brazil in the early 2000s. It rejects dystopian pessimism and puts forward images of renewable-powered utopias that challenge us to alter our social habits. Ellery Studio is working with several educational and nonprofit organizations to use Solarpunk as a jumpoff point to break down climate policy and model desirable futures with novel visual tools. This article asks how a largely aesthetic movement can achieve transformative power? And how speculative design processes might move beyond “visioning” to transition organizations and communities.