About Solar Power for Artists

Solar Power for Artists (SPfA) is an education and research platform created by Alex Nathanson. The project encompasses an archive of creative applications of solar power, workshops, and a book, among other aspects.

About the Archive

The archive hopes to bridge the gap between educational resources and PV art and design projects by providing context for this type of work, provide project inspiration, and highlight some trends in the field. The archive includes over 150 projects created by more than 100 artists and designers that span 30 mediums.

The archive is only loosely curated. The main criteria for inclusion is that the solar panels are functional. This means that, for example, a used solar panel repurposed as a canvas for a painting would not be included and neither would speculative designs (though there are a few exceptions). The functionality of the panels can be hard to prove, so it may be more accurate to say projects do not get included if they are clearly only ornamental. The mediums found in the archive span just about everything possible; sound art, sculpture, installation, food, social practice, textiles, wearables, furniture design, architectural design, kinetic sculpture, printmaking, glass work, beadwork, and mosaics, and others. In addition to media types, there is a huge range of scales, technical specifications and conceptual underpinnings represented in the collection. The archive also includes exhibitions and design competitions devoted to solar power. In general, the goal of the archive is less about critiquing the quality of the work and more interested in mapping and understanding the diversity of approaches.


You can make a donation to support this project via our store.

If you want your work included in this archive, use this submission form.
For corrections, general comments, etc. please use this form.

If you are interested in collaborating, want to arrange workshops, lectures, project consulting, etc. please email alex@alexnathanson.com.


The success of this project is the result of a lot of conversations, feedback, user testing, general support and enthusiam from a whole bunch of people.

In particular, we'd like to thank all of the people who gave permission for the use of their images.

Additionally, everyone who agreed to be interviewed in the initial research stage of this project; Alvin Lucier, Lizzy Hurst, Marianne Fairbanks, Peter Blasser, Karen Alsen, Scott Smallwood, Daniel Fishkin, Camilla Padgitt-Coles, Jeff Feddersen, Allan Giddy, and Nicolas Collins; as well as a number of folks who provided important feedback in the early stages of the project's development, especially, Benedetta Piantella, Mark Skwarek, and John Heida.

Alex Nathanson

Alex Nathanson is a multimedia artist, engineer, curator, and educator whose work spans electronics, video, sound, and performance. He performs regularly with his multimedia project Fan Letters. His collaborators include Dylan Neely, Kid Millions, Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, Kendall Williams and others. His artwork has been featured at the Museum of the Moving Image (New York, USA), Film Society of Lincoln Center, Anthology Film Archives (New York, USA), PS122 Gallery (New York, USA), Dome of Visions (Copenhagen, Denmark), and the Art Prospect Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia), among other venues. He was one of the long-term artists in residence at Flux Factory, in Queens, NY from 2012 to 2016. In 2017 he was awarded a residency at The Watermill Center to develop a full length opera, titled Autocomplete, in collaboration with Fan Letters. As an educator, he works with students as young as 7 to graduate students and working professionals, teaching skills related to sound, light, mechanics, and electronics through creative projects. He has a M.S. in Integrated Digital Media from NYU Tandon School of Engineering and is a certified NABCEP Photovoltaic Associate.

More of his work can be seen at www.alexnathanson.com

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that we are on the traditional land of the Lenape People. While a land acknowledgement is not enough, it is an important social justice and decolonial practice that promotes idigenous visibility. Let this land acknowledgement be an opening for all of us to contemplate the ways in which climate change continues to exacerbate the violent legacies of colonialism and capitalism.

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