thomas medicus suspends turbine-shaped glass installation at hydropower plant in austria

Designboom_ Drawing on the forms of hydroelectric turbines, artist Thomas Medicus suspends the site-specific glass installation EBBE at a decommissioned hydroelectric power plant in Innsbruck, Austria. The installation reveals intricate turbine-shaped shards of mirror hanging from the ceiling, its glistening forms reflecting its surroundings and contrasting the stagnant nature and robust materiality of the industrial machinery. The palindrome title EBBE — German for ebb tide — alludes to the shutdown of the power station, and expresses both the physical and symbolic reflective nature of the installation. With the aim to promote and make hydropower energy generation visible in Austria, the installation raises awareness of sensitive, imminent issues such as energy scarcity and water ecology.

Austrian artist Thomas Medicus’ EBBE draws on the forms of hydroelectric turbines, contrasting their sturdy and robust forms with the delicacy of reflective glass shards. With an overall diameter of approximately 2.5 meters, much of the turbine-shaped installation consists of mirrors which serve two purposes. Firstly, the material does not have an independent surface but rather takes on the appearance of the surroundings, contributing to the site-specific character of the installation. Moreover, at night the mirrors emit water-like rippling reflections throughout the hall. The vivid light and patterns are created by a rotating geometric element at the center of EBBE, composed of float glass and blue hand-blown glass, and illuminated by six LED bars.

The palindrome EBBE as the title of the installation not only transports the reflective character of the artwork. For as is well known, after the ebb comes the flood’,notes Medicus.The installation reflects this dichotomy, transforming the stagnant, industrial hydroelectric power plant, which was in operation from 1907 to 2004, into an enlightening, dynamic place for art and culture.

The power plant with its impressive turbine hall is a listed building. To make this space accessible to the public, the project to emphasize the historical dimension of the building while at the same time retaining its strong independent quality. Designed by Thomas Medicus, EBBE was initiated and organized by Kulturnetz Tirol within the framework of ‘Hexalux im Kraftwerk’, selected by TKI and financed by Land Tirol.