Art is as essential as energy

White noise… (mmmmmmmm)
Is it a machine working or someone humming? I zoom out of whatever I was thinking, and I realise a long time has passed.

In March last year I started a residency with Sustainability First at UK Power Networks. By then I wouldn't guess what was about to happen to the World. I still can't. During this period I have spent most of my time in the middle of electronic waste, sculptural materials, paint, canvases, and in white noise. This noise represents energy, something that is ‘ON’ and working.

Were energy and technology ever that useful?
What would we have done if we didn't have electricity?

I've been breaking down e-waste and putting it back together. I like to think of how our technology mimics nature in many ways. In fact, it’s an infrastructure as big as nature, and as such it depends on nature to exist. The reverse also applies, nature now also depends on the way we use our technology.

The sculptures I've been working on are made of parts that during their functional life had the purpose to serve us. When they stop working, when a better version comes along and they get replaced, these machines stop being technology and become objects.

Objects can be sculptures. They stand quiet, motionless, powerless?! A machine becomes an object when we stop believing it has the power of giving us the best it can give. Their myth doesn't live beyond their function, or so it seems.

I see in the materials I use not just their physical attributes, the copper, the metal, and the plastic. When I work with these materials I see the nature where they came from and the nature where they are going. I see their Past, their Present and their Future, and how they become monuments and artefacts to a world that is transforming through our hands. 


I feel responsible to make them stand for themselves, so I rebuild them, add them to other materials, recycle parts, bend them until they look like they've never had any other purpose or function beyond standing there, for you. To think about nature, to think about technology, to think about energy, to think about life.

During my residency I had the chance to visit some sites and understand how the electricity grid network works. It's not easy, but is also not complex. There are points of origin where power is generated, a huge amount of cables, stations and substations that transform the power and bring it to the device you're using to read this. Even during the pandemic people from UKPN have been working hard so the essentials wouldn't be lacking in your home.


In the beginning of this project at a meeting someone from UKPN told me "You know, until about 10/15 years ago if the power would go down in some places people would call, worried about not having power in their fridge to preserve the food, these days when they call all they are worried about is when will they have power again because they need wi-fi".

Our need for power has become ever more important through the pandemic. Of course we can't disconnect ourselves from technology anymore, but what I'm trying to say is, this crisis will be over and when it's over we have to learn/re-learn to reconnect, not just between ourselves but with the world we live in as well.

I spent all these months doing what I love, thinking of what I care about. I was lucky Sustainability First and UKPN gave me this opportunity. Now the artworks need to socialise, enough of isolation for them, because they only become truly alive when volts are rushing through your brains by looking at them. That’s the power of Art, to make you feel, to make you think, to inspire you to do better.

In July I’ll be presenting a series of works - an installation, sculptures, photographs and paintings alongside a group exhibition of the 2020 Sustainability First Art Prize shortlisted work at the Bermondsey Project Space. The theme is ‘Re-Connecting’. We hope to rewire you to a world you’ve been isolated from and to reconnect you with the power that culture and art have, because art is as essential as energy.

White noise… (mmmmmmmm)


Reconnecting Exhibition
Opening 30 June (6-9pm)
1-10 July (11am-6pm)
Bermondsey Project Space, 183 – 185 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3UW