Rather than responding to the brief with a monumental artwork “representing the heritage of Perth”, Emergent’s design consists of an outcropping of human-scale Photobioreactors which relate to the city in a more nuanced way. These devices are intended to operate ontologically at both conceptual and visceral levels, in terms of space, color, luminosity, but also infrastructure and engineering. There are seven elements, tied together by a pleated, color-variegated groundscape which tracks a network of biofuel lines leading across the street to the Perth train station.

The outer shells of the Photobioreactors are fiber-composite monocoque construction, pleated for stiffness. These structures support large transparent polycarbonate apertures to allow in sunlight while also protecting internal moving parts. Inside are coils of transparent acrylic which contain green or red algae colonies. The photosynthetic process of the algae requires carbon dioxide on the front end, and produces bio-diesel or hydrogen at the back-end. These devices therefore simultaneously remediate the environment by removing carbon dioxide from the local atmosphere and generate fuel in a closed-loop, off-the-grid system. One of the implications here is that energy production may, in the future, be super-localized and embedded in daily behaviors, rather than magically available from distant sources.

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