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Blog 1 - Energy Flow and Transformation Through a City

Andy Goldsworthy focuses mainly on nature and the energy and transformation throughout nature. He seeks to understand how a river flows or how the currents of the ocean will act upon the rest of nature. When considering the flow of energy throughout a city however, we begin to see more how humans contribute to the flow and transformation of the world. Initially when I first thought about this topic, I was trying to concentrate on movement and things that move through a city, but after further thought, I realized it is much more than this. The flow of energy and transformation of a city does relate to nature, but what I chose to focus on was the way humans and technology contribute to the energy flow of a city.

In a more obvious sense of energy, I think of the way traffic flows through a city. It is pretty amazing that traffic can flow so fluidly (except during rush hour). Stoplights are the modern way of controlling the flow of traffic through a city. I think it is pretty remarkable that three colored circles can control what we do in our cars. This brings me to the use of light in a city. When approaching Minneapolis at night, I am always energized by the lit-up buildings. A skyline is really transformed by the use of light.


This image shows both the flow of traffic at night as well as the energy emitted by the lit-up buildings. Even at night, when the world is at rest, a city is still giving off energy. We see that technology has really changed how we view the world. Skyscrapers transform the land, while bridges connected two parts of the land. Even architecture gives off energy, in a more static sense. Buildings don’t necessarily move but they provide a way for people to travel and a way for people to share their energy. The busyness of a city, is brought on by electricity, architecture, and human interactions.


When thinking about human interactions in the city, I am reminded of a Coca-Cola commercial I once saw. As the photo on this page does not do justice to the commercial, the video is posted on YouTube through this link:

In this video, we see the impact of small gestures of one human being. We see the energy through the streets of the city begin to build as the main character continuously “gives a little love? to people he passes on the street. Although this I a very fictional view of the city, it really envelopes the impact of humans on energy through a city. It shows the more abstract idea of energy. In this case, “positive? energy is being shared. Energy is constantly coming from all directions. This video alone shows the interaction between people in a business, cars moving down the street, food cart workers selling food, fire hydrants spraying water, motorcylists performing stunts, as well as people of all different ages and professions. We see the importance of music as well as the energy that is emitted through the exchange of money. The idea of all of these things going on in one place is energizing in itself. A city is also transformed by the energy of each individual person passing through it.

I think it is important to consider the actual movement of cars, bikes, buses, etc., but it is more important to look at where this energy begins. It begins with the interaction of human beings. It begins with the flip of a light. It begins with people beginning to expand their knowledge through science and technology. The ways that a city is emitting energy is infinite and ever-changing. It is not necessarily about the movement of physical objects, rather the transfer of ideas, services, and emotions. It seems that in this sense, the energy thats passes through a city is quite different than that of the natural world as Goldsworthy describes it.

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