IRENA at the Venice Biennale


Primal Sonic Visions

IRENA has collaborated with renowned sound artist Bill Fontana to produce Primal Sonic Visions, an exhibit to be displayed at the Venice Biennale from 25 May to September 2018.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is delighted to present Primal Sonic Visions, a powerful series of multimedia art works by renowned conceptual artist Bill Fontana which were commissioned by the Agency to focus attention on the primal beauty of renewable energies at a time of increased global awareness about the urgency to tackle climate change.

When IRENA was established in 2009 as the global organization solely dedicated to promoting renewable energy, renewables were considered a luxury only few industrialized countries could afford. Today, thanks to falling costs, technological innovation and enabling policies, renewables are witnessing an unprecedented expansion worldwide spurring a global energy transformation.

While seeking to strengthen the business case for renewable energy and working with governments and the private sector to scale it up, we also aim to catalyze a broader public engagement towards a sustainable energy future. And what more powerful medium is there than art to achieve this? Art is universal, present in every culture, and it is a shared language between us. At its most powerful, art challenges our fundamental perceptions about our place in the world, and expands our horizons of what is possible.

In this context, the collaboration with Bill Fontana contributes to sharing our vision of a future of abundant, clean energy with the public. With all the alarming headlines about rampant air pollution and warming oceans, it can be hard to imagine such a future. But not only is it possible, it is imperative if we want to achieve a climate-safe and resilient world.

Today, hundreds of millions of people rely on renewable energy as their primary source of energy, and the number is growing every day. It is now the cheapest form of power in many parts of the world. Renewable energy is expanding energy access, improving health outcomes, and helping to tackle climate change while also creating jobs and powering sustainable economic growth.

Primal Sonic Visions is a remarkable series of work that brings together art with the architecture of nature. In focusing our attention on the primal beauty of wind, solar, hydro and geothermal energy sources, it reveals secrets of a world that is restless, alive, and constantly in flux. This is a world of limitless potential, where energy is available to all of us, if we know where and how to harness it.

Creating Primal Sonic Visions took Bill Fontana on a journey around the world. In Austria, California, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom, Fontana captured sounds and images from renewable energy projects and sources. Bringing them into the Ca’ Foscari Exhibition Space in Venice imbues them with a special power, transporting those who are lucky enough to experience them into another world.

We invite you to explore these extraordinary works of art and remind you that through the application of human ingenuity and determination, a sustainable energy future is within our reach.

We would like to thank the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates and the Italian Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea whose generous support made this exhibition possible. Our appreciation also goes to Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, the Venice Science Gallery and Arthemisia for the collaboration in organizing the exhibition.

For more information about the exhibit or to buy tickets, visit

When and where

The exhibit will be on display from 26 May to 16 September 2018, Tuesdays to Sundays from 10:00-18:00.

Entrance to the exhibit is free

Ca' Foscari Esposizoni
Universita Ca' Foscari Venezia
Dorsoduro 3246