roman keller & christina hemauer

For Portscapes, Christina Hemauer and Roman Keller (Switzerland) organised a performance of the work The Postpetrolistic Internationale, with the help of a variety of regional choirs. The project started with the transportation of a wooden stage along the Rhine from Basel, near the artists’ home, to Rotterdam. Along the way, this stage docked at different locations, where a local choir performed a song of hope-in-action against a backdrop of local industry. Through such performances, the artists aimed to mark Man’s changing relationship with fossil fuels and energy use. On 7 and 8 November, the stage could be found at the Maasvlakte in Rotterdam. With this part-song, the artists are engaging in a mild campaign through which they intend to call the public’s attention to the climate change and the global energy crisis. Keller and Hemauer’s The Postpetrolistic Internationale utilises the collective human voice. With this project, they aim to herald a new age that uses other sources of energy than fossil fuels.

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Christina Hemauer (1973, Switzerland) and Roman Keller (1969, Switzerland) are concerned with collective memory, the relationship between energy and power and the legacy of the oil crisis of the 1970s. The film, road trip, performance-installation A Moral Equivalent of War: a Curiosity, a Museum Piece and an Example of a Road not Taken (2006-7), for example, revolves around the search for the solar panels that Jimmy Carter ordered to be mounted on the roof of the White House in 1979 (taken down during the Reagan administration), and the restaging of Carter’s famous speech in which he called for 20% of American energy to come from solar power by the year 2000. Their Postpetrolism project (2006-present) was launched with a performance in Zürich in April 2006. A new manifesto of hope for the energy reality of the future was declared and a plaque erected to mark the end of an energy era (‘peak oil’ was passed in 2005, according to Kenneth S. Deffeyes) and the beginning of a new age beyond oil. Hemauer and Keller are currently working on a performance of a ‘Postpetrol Internationale’, a hymn sung by a chorus of 20 people, ‘which gives us the power and the courage for a future without oil.’

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