July 29 - August 12
“Energy: Ideology, Capital and Data”
To follow the screening, visit post, The Museum of Modern Art’s online resource
The screening program Energy: Ideology, Capital and Data is the first in the online film and video art screening series From Matter to Data: Ecology of Infrastructures which places at its forefront the role imaginaries and realities of infrastructures play in works by several generations of artists and filmmakers from post-socialist countries.
In the films of this part of the program artists reflect upon the role infrastructures of energy play in implementation of (geo)politics and emphasize the effects that exerts on the environment.
Environmental impacts are closely related to the modes of energy production and transport involving both the systems of supply of energy and pollution created by emissions. Construction of immense supply networks are often used to distribute capital and/or spread the ideology through instigation of alliances and interdependencies between countries and whole regions. A telling recent example is the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, built by Gazprom, a state-owned Russian energy corporation, and now almost completed creating an increased tension between Russia, the US, and Europe. The project linking Russia and Germany directly via the Baltic seabed would not only ensure Russia’s dominance of energy supplies to Europe, but also be ecologically harmful. Most of the criticism facing the Nord Stream 2 project however, comes from a geopolitical, rather than an ecological, perspective. Moreover the pipeline project presents itself as an environmentally friendly initiative that will help decrease carbon emissions from oil and coal, using ‘cleaner’ natural gas, but as the writer and filmmaker Oleksiy Radinsky mentions in his recent essay it “would increase the structural, long-term dependency on fossil fuels to such an extent that a transition to a carbon-free economy—something that the Earth’s biosphere needs much earlier than we plan to institute—might actually never occur.”1
To better understand the genealogy of the politics of energy in the region one should start from looking at the infrastructures from the socialist times. Deimantas Narkevičius’ Energy Lithuania (2000) is a portrait of the present of Elektrėnai, an industrial city that was erected by the Soviets in 1960 to support the newly built electric power station. Back in time, the city was presented as a symbol of modernization and drew people from different Soviet Republics to work there. The film mixes documentary footage from the Soviet era newsreels with newly shot observational material reflecting a long-term impact of ideology. Through interviews, the emphasis is put on the connection between subjective memories of the city inhabitants and the actual functioning of the power station. The lines between reality and illusion, documentary and fiction are intentionally blurred to make a statement about interconnections between social and environmental responsibility.
1—Journal #107 - March 2020, Oleksiy Radynski -
Is Data the New Gas?, https://www.e-flux.com/journal/