Closing Event with Alec Finlay & HeHe: When the Future Was about Fracking

18 May 2016

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10:00 – 17:00

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Cooper Gallery

Dundee, United Kingdom


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Please join us at the Closing Event for When the Future Was About Fracking with artists Alec Finlay and Helen Evans (HeHe) on Wednesday 18 May from 5.00-7.30pm at Centrespace VRC.


To mark the closing of the exhibition When The Future Was About Fracking we present an evening exploring energy production and stories from the sites of hydraulic fracturing. Helen Evan's of paris-based artists' duo HeHe will present a performance lecture based on fictional accounts of fracking from the front line. Finlay’s illustrated performance lecture will survey key energy landscapes in Scotland. He will share maxims on different forms of renewable energy production and his research on the pioneering genius of wind energy, E.W. Golding, who studied the stochastic complexity of wind at Costa Head.    

The event is free as part of Ignite Dundee and open to everyone. Refreshments will be provided during the evening. 



Alec Finlay

Artist and poet Alec Finlay is internationally recognised for his work in a variety of forms and media. He conceived some of the UK’s first renewable art projects, installing texts on windmill turbines and producing skying, a multimedia artist blog surveying creative approaches to renewable energy. Recent projects include ebban an’ flowan (2015), a primer for marine renewable energy and, specifically, the EMEC test centre (Orkney), exploring the lexicon of the sea and tides, exploring the mythic and technical vocabulary that is evolving alongside marine energy, and how fisherman’s lore might relate to the lore of the ‘wave-wright’. 


The spectator is always central to HeHe’s work, which investigates several fields of experimentation: visual perception and chromatic games, as well as more extensive explorations of social and environmental phenomena. With a humorous flair for performance, HeHe seeks to materially express everyday concerns such as pollution and consumption. Their monumental project Nuage Vert, realised in 2008 in Helsinki, used a laser beam to draw an outline onto a cloud released by a power plant, the green cloud changes in size relative to the energy consumption of local residents. This installation won a Golden Nica in Hybrid art at Arts Electronica in 2008. More recent work, such as Undercurrent or Is there a Horizon in the Deepwater, rebuild industrial infrastructures in miniature as a rehearsal to environmental crisis. 

HeHe are Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen, an artists’ duo based in Paris. Born in the suburbs of England and Germany, they grew up while electronic technologies slipped into daily life and shopping became leisure. Always in movement, they continually reinvent their practice, using new materials (often based on light, smoke, mechanics, electronics and sound) that come from science or technology and bring them into relation to everyday spaces.


* * *


When the Future Was about Fracking is a sequel, specially designed for Scotland, of the Paris-based artist group HeHe's Fracking Futures, which first took place in north-west England, also a contested site for hydraulic fracking.

The Guardian wrote at the time: 'It is one of the biggest, most polarising issues there is, but artists who have created an indoor fracking installation insist they are not trying to sway opinion either way. "We want to create an emotionally engaging experience. People can then go away and come to their own conclusions," said Heiko Hansen, who with his partner, Helen Evans, has recreated the sounds, tremors and flames you would get from a fracking operation.'

This time, the group re-enact a doomed landscape after extensive fracking, with leaking hissing ghostly wellheads, in the swirling mist of a post-apocalyptic abandoned excavation site, in the middle of a city centre, in Centrespace within DJCAD's Visual Research Centre located on the lower levels of the DCA.HeHe's often mischievous yet accurate miniaturisations of potential and actual global disasters have intrigued audiences worldwide, and this is the first time their work will be seen in Scotland.


When the Future Was about Fracking is curated by Rob La Frenais in collaboration with Cooper Gallery DJCAD and is part of the Energy Ethics project, organised by Mette M. High of St Andrews University. This installation was originally commissioned by FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) and Arts Catalyst. Funded by Creative Scotland and the British Academy.


Image: Mirror Pond. Alec Finlay, photograph by Alistair Peebles, 2011

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Alec Finlay


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