WE ARE ELECTRIC
Extraction, Extinction, and Post Carbon Futures
VENUE: The University of Queensland Art Museum
14/02/2023 - 24/06/2023
ARTISTS: Will Benedict, Diane Borsato, Eglé Budvytytè, Megan Cope, Michaela Gleave, Jack Green, Girringun Art Centre, Haines and Hinterding, The Institute of Queer Ecology, Mavis Ngallametta,
Dane Mitchell, Elise Rasmussen, Cameron Robbins, Yasmin Smith, George Tjungurrayi.
CURATOR: Anna Briers
We Are Electric is an exhibition about energy: its bodily and planetary flows, the politics of its extraction and exchange, and its inextricable connection to human evolution and industrial expansion. From the frequencies that careen between our cells—communicating with our hearts, instructing them to beat—to the electromagnetic fields that encompass the Earth and its rhythms, our bodies resonate with planetary vibrations. We are, quite simply, electric beings.
However our relationship with energy has come at a cost. We have trespassed deep into the past, burning ancient sunshine—in the form of fossil fuels—to irrevocably alter our future. Anthropogenic climate change and the settler-colonial lineages of extraction have reshaped the planet beyond human timescales. We Are Electric is a call to think (and act) beyond petro-capitalism, in sympathetic resonance and solidarity with planetary and non-human systems.
In this exhibition, artists centre eco-critical conversations around energy futures and extinction, raising questions around pathways to decarbonisation. Artworks harness renewable energy resources such as solar power, attract electromagnetic forces and ambient currents, and evoke the sacred energy fields of ancestral Country. They register and articulate weather patterns, act as material witness, and channel soundings of the Earth. Calling upon queer manifestos and ancestral knowledges around care for Country through First Nations worldviews, they challenge the narratives of human supremacy to move beyond our current carbon imaginary.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Top image: Haines & Hinterding, Encounter with the Halo Field, 2009-2015. still from single-channel video, sound. Commissioned in 2009 by the Australian Network for Art and Technology and Art Monthly Australia with support from the Australia Council for the Arts. Reshot for High Definition in 2015. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney. Photo: the artists