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Triennale Art
& Dunkerque
Triennale Art & Industrie Dunkerque Hauts–de–France

The Sources of progress

Since the Industrial Revolution, the West has viewed energy as a vector for progress.

This chapter of the exhibition surveys our relationship to energy sources, which have accumulated rather than replaced one another as we discovered and learned to optimise them. From solar and wind power to natural gas, hydraulic and nuclear power, the artworks presented here bear witness to the wealth of energy sources that surround us, underpinning the development of increasingly complex technologies as highlighted by the works of Gregory Kalliche and Cédric Noël and Mira Sanders. 

The works in this section also point out the progressive bias which tends to determine the way we see energy and provide critical approaches. For example, Otobang Nkanga and Sammy Baloji reflect on the history of decolonization; Hans Haacke and José Gamarra focus on the finite nature of fossil fuel and forest resources and their irreversible impact on the living world; Susan Schuppli explores the political history and environmental consequences of one of the largest nuclear accidents to date.

The featured artists adopt different attitudes toward progress and its drivers: some maintain distance and objectivity while others strive to aestheticize it, criticize it, or underscore its absurdity. Together these works reveal the fascination and fear conjured by energy sources. The pieces expose their potential as well as their consequences and their depletion.

This chapter can be seen at the Frac Grand Large — Hauts-de-France.