Peles Empire have created a large-scale installation for the Turbine Hall and flags for the buildings historic flagpoles, which both explore the ancient, mythological and forgotten narratives of electricity and draws on materials including Jesmonite, ash, ceramics, photography and textiles. This work connects the material history of the power station with contemporary processes in a fitting tribute to the transformation of E-WERK from a relic of the fossil fuel era into a contemporary ecological power station.
As a starting point for their commission, Peles Empire began exploring the ancient, mythological and forgotten narratives of electricity. Although Benjamin Franklin is officially credited as inventing electricity (1752), and Benjamin Edison sanctified as its industrial Father (1882), electricity is of course energy belonging to the natural world, and not invented. The title pays homage to the earliest discoveries of electricity, in particular the Ancient Greeks, who in ca. 600 BC discovered static electricity by rubbing fur on amber; Greek for electron. Throughout the exhibition Peles Empire play with this breaking point between science and mythology and hierarchical tensions of value, knowledge construction and linear time progression to problematise the concepts of discovery, invention, illusion, reality and the arrogance of present society to presume that contemporary knowledges reign superior.
For their exhibition at E-WERK, Peles Empire have cast five large panels in Jesmonite and vestigial wood ash from the power station’s furnaces; the only waste product E-WERK produces as a renewable power station. These panels have been printed with contemporary images including in process activity from the artists studio and early experiments with electricity on the human body such as archival etchings of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. These works are deliberately leant against the wall, as a symbolic nod to their hybrid position between being an image and a sculpture, an unfinished product without a beginning or end, but chiefly concerned with a material process.