Rethinking Energy with World Leading Scientists, Architects and Artists at the Architectural Association School

(images and information courtesy of Will Kallaway)

In a world first, 24 leading artists, architects and scientists led by AA School architect Stefano Rabolli Pansera are pioneering an enquiry that fuses science, architecture and artistic collaboration to develop new ways of thinking about energy. The experts divided into eight groups, each consisting of an architect, a scientist, have been exploring eight different types of energy: sound, mechanical, potential, mass, electric, thermal, chemical and gravitational. The exhibition at the 12th International Architecture Exhibition, Venice brings together the work, research material and ideas in progress from the eight groups for display and public debate. The work will continue to be developed during the final year of the programme, prior to the final show in 2011.


The responsibility and issues of chemical energy are explored through the melting of the Polar icecaps and concept of personal and national ownership of air, its purity and source.  The exhibition shows images of conflict linked this region of the world.
Architects: Territorial Energy (John Palmesino& Ann-Sofi Rönnskog)
Artist:  Nina Canell
Scientist: Amanda Chatten

Credit: © Valerie Bennett, The Architectural Association School.


The work on show is a pinball machine in which there can be no winner.  The player charges the balls as they try to play while the balls sit in other side of the machine, stored, and ready to release their energy, unplayable until that time. Pictured are Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Art Gallery, London, (Grey Suit) and Stefano Rabolli Pansera, Director, Beyond Entropy, AA School
Architect:  Julian Loeffler
Artist: Peter Liversidge
Scientist: Roberto Trotta
Credit: © Valerie Bennett, The Architectural Association School.


In the late 19th Century scientists and artists began to look at space and time differently. One of these was French writer, Alfred Jarry. He created a pseudo-science called Pataphysics and theorized a time machine. The core of Jarry’s machine involved a cube of gaint mechanical flywheels crafted, from ebony and copper, quartz and ivory. The team are exploring Jarry’s concepts. On show is one element of the protype to be complete next year. The team has updated Jarry’s machine but have the same aim as Jarry: to have all compolents working together at such a speed as to resesit all forces and eventually resisting our motion, through not just space but also time.
Architect: Shin Egashira
Aritist: Initial input from Attila Csorgo
Scientist: Andrew Jaffe

Credit: © Valerie Bennett, The Architectural Association School.


The 3D printer has revolutionised the creation of materials, ideas and manufacturing. It can serve as a protype to explore issues linked to energy and reproduction and copying. However, every copy has a flaw that makes it, in some small way, original. The work presents copies of a part from a 3D copying machine, replicated over and over again – exploring the theme of when the reproducer becomes reproduced.
Architect: Ines Weizman
Artist: Wilfredo Prieto
Scientist: David Clements

Credit: © Valerie Bennett, The Architectural Association School.


The exhibit explores the holographic side of matter and the energy within it. When images are scanned and 3D printed, they show the history of energy in the image – how energy has shaped the picture and the items within. The presentation shows a series of prototypes of objects and sculpture that portray the forensic history of an image – i.e. taking a holographic photograph and printing it in 4D. The image of the Moon, shows the gravitational forces of energy on its surface.
Architect: Eyal Weizman
Artist: Initial input from Carlos Gariacoa
Scientist: Peter Coles

Credit: © NASA


Beyond Entropy – Rethinking Energy with World Leading Scientists, Architects and Artists at the Architectural Association School

FREE exhibition and public events

3 – 28 May 2011, AA School, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES.
Press preview 3 May at 10:00hrs.
Works include: A time machine, an impossible pinball game, a giant self-balancing mechanism, forensic photography that captures your movements before the picture was taken and many more fantastical creations..
Events include: artist John Stezaker on the potential in meaning; cosmologist, Prof. Andrew Jaffe on time travel, and architect Carlos Villanueva Brandt on the city as creative energy.

ENERGY, the unseen powerful force that shapes every aspect of life from our cellular structure to our economy will be explored through BEYOND ENTROPY a unique free exhibition and series of events that bring together world leading scientists, architects and artists at the Architectural Association School of Architecture, 36 Bedford Square, London, WC1B 3ES from 3 – 28 May 2011.

The show and events are part of Beyond Entropy, an ambitious two-year project from the AA School involving 24 leading scientists, architects and artists working together to explore and broaden the ways we think about energy. Before coming to London, Beyond Entropy has been shown in Europe including at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 and Societe de Lecture, Geneva.

Work on display.
A giant self-balancing mechanism, a working time machine, an impossible pinball machine, thermal replication, the concept of ownership of the air and energy and forensic photography that captures your movements before the picture was taken are just some of the works on show. Each work explores a different type of energy and is created by a team consisting of an artist, architect and scientist. [Exhibition highlights and a list of participants below].


1. The energy of Mies van der Rohe: 13:30hrs, Tuesday 3 May
Vittorio Pizzigoni, founder member of Italy’s famous Baukuh architectural practice and Beyond Entropy participant, discusses how Mies van der Rohe, one of the most influential architect’s of the 20th century used industrialisation to simplify energy use in construction.

2. John Stezaker on the potential in meaning: 13:30hrs, Tuesday 10 May
Taking a break from his current show at the Whitechapel Gallery artist John Stezaker discusses his work and explores the relationships between potential in meaning and potential energy and how different ways of seeing the world produce different forms of energy.

3. The City as Creative Energy: 18:30hrs, Friday 13 May
Speakers including international architect Carlos Villanueva Brandt, explore the concept of a creative city. What conditions are required for a city to expand the creative potential of the human brain? London is a melting pot of cultures, thinking and activity – a hive of energy powering a creative centre of excellence recognised across the globe. How do we stay on top of the creative world and help the city and its people be ever more creative?

4. Lino Bo Bardi; Primitivism and Sustainability, 13:00hrs, Tuesday 17 May
Art historian Dr Silvia Davoli from the Warburg Institute discusses the life and work of Lino Bo Bardi, an architect famous for her organic and surreal designs that broke new ground in both the concept and practice of sustainable buildings – often proposing construction methods that reflected the buildings and methods of Brazil’s native peoples. Her well known designs include Sao Paolo’s famous Museum of Modern Art.

5. Time Travel – Shamanism to the Space age: 18:30hrs, Friday 20 May
The team behind the exhibition’s Time Machine Prof. Andrew Jaffe, Cosmologist, Imperial College London and architect Shin Egashira, join photographer Goswin Schwedinger to explore the human desire to alter our past and futures. The ability to engage with other people of other times, planets and dimensions is a dream of science but is also found in some cultural and religious practices. The event will explore the fascination of time travel, the desire to explore other realms from Shamanism to interplanetary travel and whether science fiction is any closer to becoming science fact.

Stefano Rabolli Pansera, Director of Beyond Entropy, at the Architectural Association School of Architecture said: “Cities are alive, living, breathing, energy filled beings. The exhibition and events fuse hard science with artistic freedom and interpretation to explore new ways of thinking about energy in all its forms.

“From time machines to global issues surrounding the ownership of energy, the combination of science, architecture and art working together have created thought-provoking and sometimes startling work to explore issues of energy – from the mega city, to your own mind. Come and be energised!”

  1. jotta on May 11, 2011

    Jotta thinks Beyond Entropy is like a glimpse into the workshop of the inventors, with experiments and mechanisms dotted throughout. Great atmosphere!