A new interactive installation, situated on Silo Square at the V&A Waterfront, is open to the public free of charge, after a temporary closure for touch-ups.
The installation, called Zoetrope, was designed by Es Devlin, and commissioned by Mercedes Benz South Africa.
Using solar power and responding to the electrical intelligence technology developed by Mercedes-Benz, Zoetrope imagines the potential for a future global network of solar-powered pavilions.
In conceptualising the Zoetrope pavilion, Devlin took a map of Cape Town and chose 12 points that express the geographic and demographic range of life within a 100km radius of the site – from an underwater kelp forest and rooftop football match, to choral groups and solar power installers. Working closely with South African film-makers, Ms Devlin gathered footage from these locations, which was then edited into 12 one-minute films that form the narrative inside the Zoetrope.
The Zoetrope is constructed using only local materials and talent. It comprises a steel frame structure clad in 72 concrete panels which were made using sand sourced from the 12 filming locations and the same cement used to construct the original Silo building, which lies adjacent the pavilion.
Roofed with modern solar power technology, the sculpture is completely off the grid, producing 11.4 kW of energy that powers the audiovisual equipment used inside.
Upon entering, visitors will walk through a labyrinthine route that spans the length of the 12 one-minute films.
The Zoetrope project began in March 2018 after the annual Design Indaba conference. Mercedes-Benz South Africa approached Design Indaba founder Ravi Naidoo to find a way to interpret electric mobility and Mr Naidoo proposed that Ms Devlin create a thought-provoking public piece. Johannes Fritz, Co-chief executive officer of Mercedes-Benz South Africa and executive director of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “The automotive industry is currently undergoing a transformation that offers great opportunities to shape the future in lasting ways through innovation, inspiration and fascination.
“Mercedes-Benz is proud to have commissioned an artwork that embodies emotion and intelligence while considering the future of mobility and introducing South Africa to our technologies.”
Ms Devlin is known for her large-scale sculptural works that fuse technology and poetry, including the fluorescent Fifth Lion which landed in London’s Trafalgar Square last month.