For the past five years, Lexus and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami have partnered for one of the showiest offerings during Art Basel: a vehicle that looks like either a car or an art installation, depending on the vantage point. This year’s, by solar designer Marjan van Aubel, is 8 Minutes and 20 Seconds, a sculptural interpretation of the Lexus Future Zero-emission Catalyst (LF-ZC) concept car.

Titled after the length of time it takes for sunlight to reach the earth, 8 Minutes and 20 Seconds employs solar cells known as Organic Photovoltaics arranged to form a version of the LF-ZC car. As a viewer moves around it, the sculpture appears to change, making it look as though the car is in motion.

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The installation also plays an ambient melody, incorporating warm string instruments, soft piano notes, and subtle effects, and occasionally integrating sounds of the car’s interior materials at work.

Van Aubel spoke with ARTnews about the installation, how art and design can have an environmental impact, and the process behind her installation.

ARTnews: Tell me about the origins of this project.

Marjan van Aubel: It started because I served as mentor for winners of the Lexus Design Award winners last year. I helped them turn their concepts, their developed product. I think I was on Lexus’s radar after that, and then they invited me to do the installation at ICA.

What’s the relationship between the concept vehicle and the installation in the garden?

The installation is based on the new Lexus concept car, the Lexus LF-ZC. It hadn’t been released when we started working on it. The designers showed me how they developed the car, and we began working on the installation’s shape. Really, the two were developed simultaneously, before the car was released. I was very interested in the shape of the car and how it affects the future of automotive mobility.

What parts of the car inspired aspects of the installation?

When you’re inside the car, it’s very spacious, and the designers added lighting elements that activate during the evening. It really feels like the car has its own environment. That’s what I wanted to capture. The installation was created to look almost like a ghost car. From the side, the only discernible feature is the four wheels because the OPVs, the third-generation solar cells, can be transparent but [they’re] also very colorful and so thin. But when you look at it head-on, through the OPVs, the image of a car appears. There are also motion sensors that engage when someone approaches the installation, so it’s reacting to its environment the same way a driver would.

What would you like people to take away from their experience interacting with the work?

The best outcome would be for people to realize that solar energy can be beautiful. It’s not just these ugly panels that you see on the roof of a house. Those aren’t going to change the world. But there have been so many advances in solar technology that aren’t discussed. It’s more affordable than it’s ever been. That’s why we need the power of design.

Things are easy to accept and incorporate into daily life when they’re beautiful. Through design we can literally change the mentality and stigma surrounding solar cells about the future and be helpful, hopefully. Really, I feel my mission is to bring sustainability to a bigger audience, and for me, Art Basel and ICA Miami is a great platform because people are open to being inspired when they are surrounded by this much art.