Nicolas Bourriaud on ‘Energy’



About Energy

Energy consumption can be seen as an indicator of a particular cultural era. The modernism of the twentieth century can be related to an explosion of great energy or as described by philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, the plume of oil spurting from an oilwell. Postmodernism coincides with a crisis in energy – a realisation from the 1973 oil crisis that fossil fuel energy is not limitless. Today artists respond to sustainability in energy, creating feedback loops and chains of interconnections. ‘Strictly speaking, then, the exhibition assembles works whose compositional principle relies on a chain of elements: the work tends to become a dynamic structure that generates forms before, during and after its production. These forms deliver narratives, the narratives of their very own production, but also their distribution and the mental journey that encompasses them. Loris Gréaud, for instance, produces electroencephalograms of his own brain as he thinks about an exhibition; this is transformed into a computer programme, then into light emissions and finally into electrical impulses releasing vibrations in the exhibition hall – before, as likely as not, being used somewhere else.’ Nicolas Bourriaud, Altermodern: Tate Triennial, Tate Publishing, 2009 (p14-15).