Victory over the sun

(in progress)
Artistic research, field-trips, intervention in public space, photography, film and artist book. 
2016 – ongoing

The project was originally conceived as an intervention for a seemingly public space in Cologne: a neon text was to be installed under the power lines in the outskirts of the city, that would be powered and lit by the energy emanating from the high voltage cables above. The idea was inspired by a demonstration that took place in Germany, for which protestors held neon tubes in their hands under the power lines. The neon tubes would glow as the invisible flowing energy in the air was connected with the earth, making the invisible, visible to the human eye.

Proposals for the installation received a negative response from various energy companies who refused permission for the intervention to take place under their structures. As a result, the project became a long-term exploration of the energy industry and landscape near to Cologne. This location hosts both the world’s largest artificial sun and Europe’s most infamous open-pit coal mine, which is located right beside a forest currently occupied by eco-activists as means of resistance. This place has become iconic in the struggles against the extracting and exploitation of coal in these current times of energy transition.

The title of the project refers to Victory Over the Sun, a futurist opera written in 1923 by Aleksei Kruchenykh. In the piece, the sun is captured and brought from heaven to Earth to be locked in a concrete bucket (symbolized on stage by Kazimir Malevich’s famous ‘Black Square’). The opera celebrated the dystopian independence of humankind from the sun and its cyclical system, made possible by the energy generated from man-made sources and technologies. Bringing this reference to the present time, the project hoped to create a crossover between the symbology of Russian futurism from the 1920s, the ancient cosmology of the pre-Hispanic Andean cultures, and future visions as seen from eco-activists and the ecological crisis we are living through today.