Energy Structures

Energy Structures is the fourth and final issue in our “Art of the Built Environment” series. To consider energy structures is to acknowledge the enormous infrastructures that capture and distribute electrical energy as well as to measure the endurance and exhaustion of the human body. The history of civilization’s advancements can be told through the development of methods for extracting energy from natural resources. To meet the consumption requirements of the tools we build or to fuel the efforts of our own bodies—for better or worse—human endeavors always traffic in the exchange of energy.

The structures of energy, whether at human or global scales, are deeply imbricated with the acquisition and maintenance of political power. The cycle of consumption and production, an escalating and ravenous need for power, and the unforeseen (or, often, foreseen) repercussions of our energy structures have brought us to the current moment of complex, multifaceted crises: a cage match between the mounting consequences of climate change and the logic of late capitalism.

In this issue of ART PAPERS, power is ever present as the symbolic and literal companion of energy—a system’s capacity to do work over time. In ‘A Brief History of Power’ contributing editor Stephanie Bailey traces the lines of electrification to political power via Chilean artist Iván Navarro and the 38th EVA International in Ireland. Maxwell Paparella spends time with exuberant Puerto Rican performance collective Poncili Creación. Caia Hagel speaks with Tobias Wallisser, of the architectural collective LAVA, about plans for the Germany Pavilion at Expo 2020. Alexis Wilkinson and Xandra Ibarra discuss cockroach consciousness.

On the cover and throughout the issue, Daniel Rich depicts architectural and technological structures and infrastructures. In ‘The Energy Paradox,’ curator Jason Waite describes Japanese artists’ and cultural workers’ strategies for response to the Fukushima disaster. Artists and educators Mark Dion, Pam Longobardi, and Mike McFalls discuss their collaborative work with Georgia State University and Columbus State University students on ecology, history, and site-responsive public art projects in ‘Chattahoochee Explorers Club.’ In ‘The Planets,’ unofficial ART PAPERS astrologer-in-residence K. Tauches considers the energies of the heavenly bodies. Edward Austin Hall contributes a Glossary entry on the mysterious pinetenna, and EC Flamming reviews Chernobyl. We also welcome back designer Benjamin Critton, who builds upon the concept he created in our Borders, Barriers issue and reinterprets its parameters in response to this issue’s theme.

On a personal note, I’m delighted to join the ART PAPERS team full time, after a year of serving as interim editor. It’s an honor and a privilege to helm the artistic direction of an organization with a 43–year history of lending words to the work of visual artists.

Sarah Higgins
Editor + Artistic Director

Buy “Energy Structures” Spring/Summer 2019