Axel Braun - work and projects

DIE TECHNIK MUSS GRAUSAM SEIN, WENN SIE SICH DURCHSETZEN WILL. /
TECHNOLOGY MUST BE CRUEL IN ORDER TO ASSERT ITSELF. (2011-12)

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Hotzenwald in Southern Black Forest

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DIE TECHNIK MUSS GRAUSAM SEIN, WENN SIE SICH DURCHSETZEN WILL. / TECHNOLOGY MUST BE CRUEL IN ORDER TO ASSERT ITSELF
was the first case-study for the longterm project DISTURBED HARMONIES [Anthropocene Landscapes].

It deals with controversial dams and hydropower projects in Western and Southern Europe. The case study was launched shortly after Fukushima, when large-scale hydropower projects were frequently discussed as key technologies for a successful nuclear phase-out. However, when delving deeper into the history and narratives connected to this seemingly clean technology, it is unavoidable to reflect on complex questions of power, responsibility and sustainability.

Based on archive research in the Corporate Historic Archives of RWE AG, a large German energy company, selected sites were revisited and new photographs were produced in order to complement the collection of historic documents. The material was contextualised in archive folders and an artist book.

The title is a quotation from the social democrat newspaper Vorwärts (1928) that argues in favour of building a dam in the Black Forrest.

The first presentation of the project was an installation in the
entrance hall of the corporate headquarters of RWE AG.
The exhibition sparked controversial discussions in and outside the
company. In these processes the title played an important role:
e.g. it was taken up by Der Spiegel and has been quoted by CEO Peter
Terium in public speeches repeatedly, in order to express the company’s
openness for criticism.

The project was funded by a VISIT scholarship of RWE Foundation.

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