Sisyphean energies is an installation by Haroon Mirza developed during his 2023 residency that seamlessly blends nature, light, energy and water into a mesmerizing sensory experience.
As an immersive encounter in nature through the use of solar panels, local stone, running water and the surrounding natural environment, this innovative sculptural work encourages viewers to contemplate the interplay between natural elements, human intervention, and the transformative power of light.
Mirza altered the natural landscape into an experiential environment where solar panels collect energy from the sun, which is then converted into electric currents that power coloured LED lights implanted in a 3-ton Verbier stone. A meticulously crafted electronic apparatus extends from the sculpture in a snake-like manner towards the neighboring water torrent, attuned to the water's motion and causing ripples in solar energy levels. This intricate interplay orchestrates a captivating dance of light, energy, water, and movement.
The sculpture also includes a range of personal found objects embedded alongside the LEDS in resin such as quartz, clover flower, pine cone and titanium.
The title Sisyphean Energies delves into both the physical development of the artwork and the erratic consumption of energy within contemporary society, drawing a parallel with the plight of Sisyphus from Greek mythology.
In terms of this year's residency theme around energy, "Sisyphean energies" hints to the constant and often frustrating allocation of effort towards generating or harnessing energy from sources that are difficult to control or sustain. This term suggests that despite persistent attempts to extract energy from challenging or unstable sources, the results might be minimal or unsustainable, resembling the futile task of Sisyphus rolling the boulder uphill only to see it roll back down.
The very heart of the artwork lies in the local Verbier stone, which carries with it a cyclical journey of its own. Originating as 'erratic rock' of sorts with a mysterious origin, it embarked on a path that led it from obscurity to the local rock quarry, only to ascend the mountain once more, finding its ultimate place within the Mirza's installation. Remarkably, even during the process of being installed in the Verbier 3-D Foundation Sculpture Park, it exhibited a tendency to roll back downhill—a poignant echo of the Sisyphean tale.
As part of Haroon Mirza's family of solar sculptures, Sisyphean Energies invites viewers to contemplate the interconnectedness of energy sources, environmental factors, and sensory experiences. By harnessing solar energy as a central component of the installation and collaborating with the torrent, he not only emphasizes sustainability and the potential of renewable energy sources but also challenges conventional notions of art and its relationship to the environment.