Artist Paul Villinski likes to pop into disaster zones. He fetishises the tools people use in emergencies. His Emergency Response Studio is a solar-powered, mobile artist’s studio, repurposed from a salvaged trailer.
“This sustainably rebuilt, living and work space is designed to enable artists to “embed” in post-disaster settings, and respond and contribute creatively.”
Villinski “conceived the project in response to the devastation of post-Katrina New Orleans.”
The art trailer claims to “deconstruct the template of the now iconic FEMA trailer.” Villinski gutted a 30-foot Gulfstream “Cavalier”, removing materials known to off-gas formaldehyde, and rebuilt it with “clean tech” solutions. The studio is entirely powered by a 1.6 kilowatt photo-voltaic solar system featuring an array of nine large solar panels which tilt upward from the trailer’s roof to face the sun.
Additional power comes from a micro-wind turbine spinning atop a 40-foot high aluminum mast. Eight large batteries, each weighing as much as an average man, store this power and are seen underfoot through a clear Lucite floor section as one steps into the trailer.
A large wall section cranks down to become a deck, a ten-foot, geodesic skylight provides daylight and expansive headroom in the work area, and a thirteen-foot wall section has shed its aluminum siding in favor of clear polycarbonate sheathing. “Symbolically, the structure is expansive, both opening outwardly and inviting the outside in, enabling free exchange between artist and environment.”
ERS has been reconstructed with sustainable, green materials — recycled denim insulation, zero-VOC paints, bamboo cabinetry, compact fluorescent lighting, reclaimed wood and floor tiles made from linseed oil — minimizing the structure’s carbon footprint and enhancing quality of life for its inhabitants.
Emergency Response Studio is included in Prospect.1, New Orleans, International Biennial of Contemporary Art
Directed by international curator Dan Cameron, Prospect.1 New Orleans will be the largest international exhibition of contemporary art ever presented in the United States. Opening November 1st, it will showcase the work of artists from around the globe while re-establishing New Orleans as a major center for the contemporary visual arts experience. Work will be presented in museums, historic buildings, and found sites throughout New Orleans.
Prospect.1 New Orleans: Open to the public Saturday, November 1st through January 18, 2009.
For more information about Prospect.1 please visit:www.prospectneworleans.org
During the Prospect .1 New Orleans exhibition, the Emergency Response Studio will be situated initially in the Lower Ninth Ward, where Villinski first imagined having a mobile studio, in the summer of 2006. Over the course of the eleven-week exhibition, it will “migrate” to other locations within the city, including the grounds of the New Orleans Museum of Art, Lafayette Square Park in downtown New Orleans, and Tulane University. The public will be invited to enter and explore the structure.
To learn more about the project please visit www.emergencyresponsestudio.org