BMW and Es Devlin Unveil Hydrogen-Powered Art at Art Basel 2024

At the prestigious Art Basel in Basel 2024, BMW and London-based artist Es Devlin revealed a groundbreaking multi-media installation titled SURFACING. This collaboration marks a fusion of sustainable technology and artistic expression, centered around the innovative BMW iX5 Hydrogen vehicles. The event showcases a stunning integration of water, light, sound, and dance, highlighting hydrogen as a clean and sustainable energy source. Devlin’s installation features a unique blend of mobile sound installations and a fleet of BMW’s hydrogen-powered vehicles wrapped in artistic prints, creating a dynamic and immersive experience for attendees.

Photo from BMW Group

Es Devlin, renowned for her exploratory multi-media works, has once again pushed boundaries with her installations at Art Basel. Displayed in Hall 1.1, the exhibition includes Surfacing (2024), an illuminated cube raining light; Surfacing II (2024), where a dance figure animates across painted televisions; and her earlier works Mask (2018) and Mask in Motion (2018), which merge digital projection and physical models to explore the interaction of urban landscapes with human touch. These works are set to a soundscape of Devlin’s conversations with BMW engineers, discussing the potential and mechanics of hydrogen fuel cells, enriched by the musical compositions of London-based duo Polyphonia.

The BMW iX5 Hydrogen represents the pinnacle of BMW’s commitment to alternative energy sources, combining hydrogen fuel cell technology with an electric drive to offer a compelling mix of zero emissions and high performance. This vehicle, based on the BMW X5 platform, delivers a system output of 401 hp and can cover up to 504 kilometres on a single refuel, which takes just minutes. As a highlight of the show, the iX5 Hydrogen vehicles serve as mobile art pieces and shuttles, allowing visitors to engage directly with the technology and artistry on display.

BMW’s showcase at Art Basel extends beyond mere exhibition, embodying a deeper commitment to sustainability and innovation. Devlin’s work not only highlights the technical capabilities of hydrogen fuel cells but also reflects on the harmony of technology with the natural world. The exterior designs of the vehicles feature blue and white collages inspired by literary and historical motifs, underscoring the thematic depth of water and sustainability.

This pilot project and its artistic encapsulation at one of the world’s leading art fairs offer a visionary glimpse into the future of mobility, where technology, sustainability, and art converge seamlessly. Visitors are invited to experience these installations and the accompanying dance performances, which occur hourly, providing a spectacular narrative on the interplay of human innovation and environmental consciousness.

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