Welcome to Performance Electrics
PERFORMANCE ELECTRICS gGMBH IS MORE THAN JUST AN ENERGY PROVIDER. USING A RADICALLY NEW APPROACH WE PRODUCE ‘KUNSTSTROM’ ELECTRICITY THROUGH ART INSTALLATIONS, TEMPORARY ACTIONS IN PUBLIC SPACE AND SCULPTURES.
In 2012, Pablo Wendel founded the artistic enterprise Performance Electrics, which operates as an electricity supplier producing and distributing Kunststrom (electricity which is produced through artworks or artistic methods). Kunststrom is accumulated in several different ways including temporary actions in public space, installations and sculptures. The corporate ethos behind Performance Electrics can be analogised by the metaphor of a network. At Performance Electrics designers, architects, artists and art historians are all involved in the artistic production of Kunststrom at different locations across the globe such as Brussels, Stuttgart or São Paulo. The headquarters, where research and development takes place, is located at the former train storage station of the Stuttgart public transport service (Wagenhallen Stuttgart).
The fact that Performance Electrics is both an art project and electricity supplier makes it a unique and extraordinary endeavour. Its not-for-profit philosophy challenges contemporary and established economic models. Performance Electrics invests 100% of its turnover in the research and development of new creative energies and with an ever-expanding client database, which already consists of museums and private households, Performance Electrics is substantially funded through the proliferation and production of its own energy. The many cooperative partnerships ensure that Performance Electrics is able to act at the interface of economics, politics, culture and science and develop a network, which transfers and synthesises collaborative energies between art, technology and economy.
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The architectonic Power Station is multi-functional. This structure simultaneously serves as a trans-disciplinary platform for research and development and operates on a technical level to feed Kunststrom into the national grid for commercial distribution. The fact that almost 100% of the PowerStation is built out of recycled material from construction sites, means that the energy output of this building is extremely low. The modularity of the buildings architecture also permits its easy transportation across Europe for new projects and commissions.
PV guerrilla is an ever-expanding series of sculptures that inherently proposes an alternative solution to centralized, industrial power. Constructed out of electricity pylon fragments, solar panels and a specialist power inverter, these sculptures are able to feed Kunststrom directly from the power socket into the electricity network of any house.
In order to claim this individual power, and circumvent dominant centralized power, individual households, businesses and institutions are invited to lease a sculpture on a monthly basis and thereby create their own Kunststrom. In order to generate maximum levels of Kunststrom private clients are advised to place their sculpture on a household balcony, conservatory or garden and public clients in a public park, roundabout or square of any city.
The installation Off Road consists of seven wind sculptures that are each eight metres high, and one Power Station. The sculptures are constructed out of recycled reflector posts and traffic signs from motorways. Off Road transforms the energy potential of roads into new energy and therefore questions how is it possible to manipulate and thereby use the energy provided by our roads?
To cope with the sophisticated engineering demands of this project a trans-disciplinary team was put together in order to research and develop Off Road. Engineering support was funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes, scientific support by the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics (University of Stuttgart) and the realisation of the installation funded by the RWE Stiftung. Off Road was presented for the first time with the project B1/A40 – Die Schönheit der großen Straße.
In these guerrilla-style interventions Varta Bande methodically obtain Kunststrom from various public places in city centres, such as Berlin, Stuttgart and Saarbrücken. The Varta Bande consists of a group of performers who tap into different electricity sources in shops or museums in order to charge their sculptural accumulator backpacks. The cocktail of different electricity collected by the performers becomes Kunststrom through the act of the performance and the consequential process of feeding it into the national grid as Kunststrom via the Power Station. The technique used in the accumulators is an advancement of the Super Akku which was developed in 2011 at the Insitute for General Theory.
The sculptural intervention twenty-four/seven was conducted without permission on the catholic parish of St. Konrad in Stuttgart in June 2013. This project was developed out of the research on Kunststrom, which focuses on new, creative methods of obtaining Kunststrom in public space. The target was to collect Kunststrom via the kinetic energy of a clock hand. The custom made Kunststrom-generator was mounted onto the 45 meter high clock tower with the aid of a crane. From the church’s highest point Kunststrom was transferred to the nearby Performance Electrics headquarter and thereafter fed into the national grid. Twenty-four/seven poses questions concerning the origin of electricity by creatively sourcing sensational new ways to industrialise unused energy. It highlights the overlooked potential of established infrastructures for the benefit of energy accumulation. As implicated in the title twenty-four/seven the clocks hands provide energy around the clock, which could in theory be utilised for electricity production twenty-four/seven.
One way of obtaining Kunststrom is through performative and process-based activities, such as Performance Electrics’ temporary, guerrilla-like campaigns. These disruptive interventions in public space are part of Performance Electrics’ subversive strategy. Testudo Solaris is a movement constituted of “Kunststromactivists” whose numbers are growing exponentially. The first union of Kunststrom-activists was in December 2013 in Stuttgart in collaboration with students of several different schools in Stuttgart. In these actions a group of performers move through the city centre with shields made of solar panels in a formation reminiscent of the Roman battle formation “turtle (testudo)”. The handmade solar panel shields were designed using a specifically developed screen-printing method and are available as a limited edition.
Land Sailor Project
The project Schmarotzer (scrounger) sees the street function as an open exhibition to the public. In this project multiple neon signs in the city centre of Stuttgart were equipped with solar panels. The front of the solar panels were laid on the light source, so that the light generated through the advertisement could be converted into energy. This placement also functioned as an aesthetic censorship of the advertisement – a witty subversion on the normally unavoidable barrage of advertisement the general public is confronted with everyday. A cable from each solar panel was then fed into the window display in the Interventionsraum in Stuttgart, in order to illuminate a single bulb in the exhibition space. Like a parasite, the solar panels took the energy from these advertising boards and used it for it’s own agenda.
The series Ottomobil was developed by Performance Electrics as a model that simultaneously stores and provides Kunststrom. Fundamentally Ottomobil is a converted trash bin, which is used as mobile storage of Kunststrom that can be placed anywhere according to requirements. The multi-level distribution system is manufactured in different forms and sizes and can function as a charging station for laptops, mobile phones and electric vehicles. As a continuation of the Ottomobil-series Rikscha has been designed with its own independent fleet that is run on Kunststrom.
The development of Rikscha is based on the Performance Electrics mobility concept, which poses questions concerning mobility. Rikscha is made with a dumpster that is transformed into a passengers’ cabin. Besides being an ordinary passenger vehicle, Rikscha is a mobile energy storage that can supply Kunststrom to anyone at any time. Due to the use of recycled materials Rikscha is undeniably sustainable.
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SPECIAL THANKS TO: Gisela Alberich Trullols, Daniel Beerstecher, Nina Bossert, Fabian Brenne, Reiner Brouwer, Marc Bubser, Simona Doletzki, Frederic Ehlers, Konstantin Felker, Birgit Gebhard, Kai Fischer, Arnaud Hoffmann, Birgit Hower, Jana Huber, Dr. Andrea Jahn, Hojin Kang, Alex Kern, Byung Chul Kim, Conny Krieger, Fabian Kühfuss, Jochen Kunze, Maximilian Lehner, Daniel Zaiß León, Vladislav Novicki, Werner Meyer, Christoph Moser, Sebastijan Perkovic, Domile Ragauskaite, Katharina Ritter, Rudolf Reiber, Wendelin Renn, Clemens Rudolf, Christine Rusche, Dafina Sadrija, Aaron Schirrmann, Julika Schlegel, Dmitri Schmidgall, Wasili Seidensal, Darius Sidlauskas, Tobias Sieber, Barbara Stehle, Kestutis Svirnelis, Samuel Treindl, Helen Turner, Christian Wadephul, Wilhelm Wagner, Ramona Wegenast, Martina Wegener, Steffi Westermayer, Rolf Wöhrle, Daniela Wolf, Karl Wruck und ZBB.
EDUCATIONAL PARTNERS: Werkrealschule Ostheim Stuttgart, Universität der Künste Berlin, Peutinger Gymnasium Ellwangen, Musikhochschule Trossingen, Kulturagenten für kreative Schule Baden Württemberg Stuttgart, Institut für Photovoltaik der Universität Stuttgart, Institut für Aerodynamik und Gasdynamik Universität Stuttgart, Hochschule Bochum, Gymnasium Plochingen, Goethe Institut Sao Paulo, Friedrich-Schiller-Gymnasium Marbach, Freie Walddorfschule Balingen und Christy-Brown-Schule für Körperbehinderte Villingen-Schwennigen.
Prime Minister of Baden Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann is patron of the project PV Guerilla.
Performance Electrics gGmbH
Im Schellenkönig 56a
T +49711 50 45 43 33
M +49176 21 75 90 64
Program-Coordinator Linz, Austria
PRODUCTION FACTORY Stuttgart
Wagenhallen, Gate 2
Innerer Nordbahnhof 1
St. Johanner Markt 24
Local Court Stuttgart, Commercial Register HRB 743739
CEO Pablo Wendel