An exhibition that opened at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Thursday is one of the first of its kind to present global cities as tools for combating climate change.
The temporary exhibition, Solar Guerrilla: Constructive Responses to Climate Change, includes a series of interdisciplinary collaboration with a range of public and private institutions, commercial companies and professionals from around the world. Case studies from Tel Aviv, New York, Copenhagen, Singapore, Masdar and many other cities are presented, organized in six thematic sections.
Dr. Orli Ronen, head of the Urban Innovation and Sustainability Lab at Tel Aviv University and academic consultant to the exhibit, addressed the media in front of the exhibit’s opening, which depicts a massive mural of climate activists.
“We should be much more concerned with climate change, and this exhibition is an enormous opportunity to get the message across,” Ronen said. “Because climate is not the center of conversation, definitely not in Israel, and also in other places around the world.”
The name Solar Guerrilla, according to Ronen, reflects the relationship between climate change and social activism, which is why the exhibit opens with a demonstration from the group 350, a leading climate organization fighting to stabilize carbon levels in the atmosphere.
“It shows that the world is changing, and people are reacting to it,” Ronen added.
Museum director Tania Coen-Uzzielli also spoke on the museum’s role in the discussion on climate change.
“We feel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art that this extreme, important concern of society that is climate change has to be addressed,” she said. “This exhibition wants to have an activist message to our public, and take an important position in this matter and invite people to reflect. We see that the museum in this way is becoming crucial and has an important role.”
The exhibition is organized into six sections, whose titles are borrowed from the professionals and experts in the field of climate science.
One section titled Solar Punk explores the human relationship with earth, while embracing that humans are part of nature. Initiatives under this section offer accessible sources of green and renewable energy to urban populations most in need.
Another section called Passive House works to create spaces – from singular building to entire cities – that produce their own energy and does not make an impact on nature, significantly reducing the amount of fossil fuels in the atmosphere.
New York, Chicago, Singapore and Shanghai are big contenders in the exhibition, but several case studies from companies and initiatives located in Israel also make an appearance.
On display is a machine from Watergen, a Rishon Lezion-based company that converts air humidity into water, and is working to place machines where quality drinking water is a scarcity.
The company Ecowave Power is also featured for its floats in the Jaffa Port, which collect energy from waves. In November, the floats will be connected to the Tel Aviv municipality grid, providing clean, sustainable energy to the area.
A new project shown in the exhibit aims to build the first sustainable district in the northwest area of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, located near the Sde Dov and Herzliya border. The plan, which includes 12,000-15,000 housing units, is based on a new energy concept that separates the production of energy for heating and cooling from the energy for electricity. Though heating and cooling will still be supplied by natural gas that emits fossil fuels, electricity will be supplied by solar panels, which greatly diminishes the greenhouse gas output.
Exhibit curator Maya Vinitsky told The Jerusalem Post that she feels the art and design aspect of sustainability will interest museum visitors, even with the exhibit’s heavy emphasis on science.
“It’s not only a science exhibition because if you think about it widely and see the scientific approach, the artistic approach, the activist approach, all together allows us as a museum to present a much more mixed combination of approaches,” she said.
The exhibition is open until late December.