A flow of ideas…

From the inspiration and research of the SunGlacier project making ice in a desert, I’ve developed the idea of creating an actual working waterfall also in an extreme dry area. The Desert Cascades concept is an art project to be made from a solar panel-based cube that independently supplies itself with energy to catch water vapor and flow the resulting water over and out of the structure. The Cascades is still an idea in-progress, but with the increasing speed of solar technology, it could soon be growing – as is SunGlacier – closer to becoming a functioning reality.

artist impression by Ap Verheggen

Developments in technology are ever increasing in speed. What appears impossible at the present can quickly become a reality within a number of months or a few short years. However, I believe that we can expand the benefits of technology when we accelerate current thinking on how to use potential applications in the future. An art project like the Cascades can inspire people and science to look beyond known horizons and become a type of generator for new possibilities. Consider science-fiction films from the 1970s; many Star Wars era dreams are becoming everyday tools in one form or another.

For us it’s essential to explore outside of conventional technology to develop ideas like how much water we can get out of the air with only solar as power generator. In the SunGlacier project, we have searched for solutions to achieve maximum results because the nature of the project calls for extreme methods. Some answers have been found in nature, like how structures and processes have developed over thousands of years of evolution. Some of these answers can also be used to build Desert Cascades.
artist impression by Ap Verheggen
We’ve noticed a huge gap between theory and reality in testing our ideas, so naturally it has been impossible to make conclusions before empirical testing. Well, such scenarios simply create a need for more old-fashioned creativity in this modern research. I discovered in this process that the experts at our partner Cofely Refrigeration are artists in their own right. Interpretation of research outcomes often requires out-of-the-box thinking. The main conclusion of our research remains: Do it! It’s funny that we actually learned a lot about water while making ice, as a result of stretching borders to conquer larger extremes.
SunGlacier is in essence a very close concept cousin to Desert Cascades. From one project we learn a lot about the other project. Both are conceived with the purpose of demonstrating that we need to think in terms of solutions as man always has done – also in adapting to a changing climate. A core message is that if our living conditions change, we can also change our mind set try to shape these changes for our own benefit. For me it is clear that climate change = culture change. I am quite positive that we can generate, even now, an autonomously working waterfall in a desert, and I am confident that the results can somehow inspire new applications for the future. Believe the impossible. The art project ‘Desert Cascades’ is still in a concept phase, but it is too interesting to me to not build it.

It’s ironic that the big ball of fire in the sky that makes one feel thirsty can also power the creation of water over elegantly-sculpted cascades.

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