Aeiforia - Ioanna Sakellaraki, Royal College of Art, UK
Climate change vulnerability and sustainable development challenges are becoming more apparent,
particularly for islands. Their insularity implies energy dependency on fossil fuels and energy imports
that also involve high transportation costs. A fully reliant on clean energy island would have sounded
almost fictional a few years ago. Yet it is about to become a reality on the Greek island of Tilos.
Tilos, is a tiny island in the Dodecanese archipelago close to Turkey, setting the example for
sustainability as it is the first island in the Mediterranean to run almost entirely by renewable energy.
As the island is very remote, it has an undersea cable connecting it to the bigger neighboring island of
Kos for energy supply from a diesel power plant which throughout the years, and especially during the
tourist season, struggled to cope with the large population, and frequently failed causing power cuts.
Since 2015, Tilos has been reinforced with a hybrid energy production and storage system, exclusively
powered by renewable energy sources, including solar power, wind turbines and battery farms,
making it the first self-sufficient island in the Mediterranean.
My images are taken in the island’s capital, where only 70 inhabitants live during the winter, and
where the tiny island passages are smoothly lighten only by raw moonlight at night, making the
limestone rooftops and yards of the islanders’ houses my playground for documenting all types of
solar panels and energy devices used, sometimes handmade or fixed with simple materials, to keep
them running the longest possible as they are one of the main sources of energy for sustaining their
households throughout the winter. In my series, I am interested in how those strangely shaped devices
and wires become an organic part of the night scenery as the darkness falls and they orchestrate a
vivid ambience with their composition in a harmonic symbiosis with the dry nature and mountainous
landscape of Tilos.
Aeiforia is a Greek word for defining progress based on the use of natural ecosystems and energy
sources to ensure future quality.