This piece appears as part of “BERLIN, BERLIN” — a weekend-long virtual celebration of the city. Head here to see the full series.
It’s been nearly 25 years since Nicolas Bourriaud first declared a new “relational aesthetics” that brought art out of the white cube and into a format that engages directly with the real world. As 100% art and 100% business, Little Sun was conceived by conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson and engineer Frederik Ottesen to design a portable, solar-powered lamp to help people in areas without consistent electricity. Its original concept: a hand-sized lamp the shape of a sunflower, which has been sold to over a million people around the world. Since then, Little Sun’s efforts have generated 36 million additional study hours for children, reduced 698,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, and stimulated $130 million household-level savings by substituting kerosene with clean energy.
Little Sun’s new video, soundtracked by Âme, opens with a shot of that sunflower-shaped lamp. The video then shows a montage of various drives throughout the city at night: Schlesiches Tor, Mitte, the Berlin Wall. It’s an eerie cruise through a city during lockdown. Projected on the buildings is a monogram that reads, “BERLIN, BERLIN SOLAR.”
It’s a citywide call to action to transition to a 100% renewably powered world. In the spring, Little Sun will be launching a currently-unannounced project that "aims to make solar power unavoidable in 2021."“We are looking forward to a year of impact, of sharing a vision of a better tomorrow,” says Felix Hallwachs, managing director of Little Sun. “That sounds kind of corny, but it is what we’re working on.”
Saving the world is corny, but we aren’t worth our weight in sneakers if we’re just cynical while the world burns. To be sure, environmental activism isn’t just an effort of scientists and politicians, but a holistic effort that happens on the cultural level, too, involving artists and culture makers. As part of their awareness campaign, Little Sun aims to collaborate with more creatives to create imagery, films, and collectible items to raise funds and awareness for the solar movement.
To donate to Little Sun, click here. Every donation to Little Sun helps us deliver solar light to students, health workers, refugees and remote communities.