For LightNight 2022 we ask what is energy? Where does it come from and how is it best used?
Energy is an invisible force which surges through us, surrounds us and weaves through the universe, one great machine of energy conversion with many parts. The sun is the source of almost all the energies of Earth.
When we consider energy, we see the depths that lay beneath the surface. Energy lies behind everything. Whether it is the waves effect in smoothing a stone or the motion of the artist behind every brushstroke.
Is energy finite or infinite? Science tells us through the Law of Conservation of Energy that energy cannot be destroyed or created, it can only be transformed. As humans we use energy to power our lives, food and sleep sustain us and help our body and mind to function.
And it’s plausible to argue that the sunlight, water, and nutrients in the earth that has helped to grow an apple, when consumed, can be converted into an act of kindness. Random acts of kindness create a ripple effect, with each recipient passing kindness onto others, creating an energy all of its own.
With the effects of the pandemic still being felt both physically and psychologically, our energy levels may feel completely different to what we were once used to pre-pandemic. Coming out of lockdowns has left many of us feeling exhausted from social interactions. Can acts of kindness help to regenerate our energy levels?
Each of us has a certain amount of energy, whether it’s physical, mental, and emotional, and we have a capacity that fluctuates. By the same principal so too, does Earth. Our planet has finite resources that we constantly convert to help the day-to-day actions of humans and the churn of life upon the planet.
In this current Anthropocene age, scientists say we have significantly altered the Earth’s climate and ecosystems through human activity. These changes can be seen in global warming, habitat loss, changes in the chemical composition of the atmosphere, oceans and soil, and animal extinctions.
Can we continue to act as though we have limitless energy and infinite resources? Can art help us consider and stop us in our tracks, making us question our current trajectory? How can we work collectively to maximise our energy outputs to re-shape the world around us for the better?