Aesthetics of the Energy Landscape (27-28 May 2016, Luleå)

This two-day workshop focuses on the contribution of the humanities disciplines—history, art history, literature, philosophy, and cultural studies—to studying the aesthetics of the energy landscape and responses to it. Energy technologies are here broadly interpreted, including but not limited to hydropower dams, watermills, oil derricks, oil production wells, coal/nuclear power plants, windmills, wind farms, solar panels, solar farms, and energy transmission lines. The workshop will be held 27-28 May 2016 in Luleå, Sweden. The planned output is an edited volume with a university press.

See the CFP here. The response to the CFP was very strong: 51 proposals were submitted, from which the programme of 16 papers was selected.

Draft Programme

Friday, 27 May 2016
08:00-08:30 Introductions

08:30-09:50 Session 1: Marketing the energy landscape

  • Andrew Meade McGee (Univ of Virginia, USA), Aesthetics of Energy in Times of Abundance and Turmoil: Images of Nature, Energy Resources, and the Business of Environmental Extraction in Fortune Magazine of the 1930s and 1940s
  • Rebecca Wright (University of London, UK), Whitewashing energy: aesthetic management of Southern California Edison

09:50-10:10 Fika (Swedish for ‘coffee break’)

10:10-11:30 Session 2: Extraordinary everyday landscapes

  • Dolly Jørgensen (Luleå Univ of Technology, Sweden), Visions of modernity in your wallet: Energy landscapes on banknotes
  • Heather Braiden (McGill Univ, Canada), Nuclear landscapes: Family day at the power plant

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30-14:30 Session 3: Oil on film

  • Sabine Noeligen (Cornell, USA), Sublime oil spills: aesthetics of environmental degredation in Werner Herzog’s Lessons of Darkness and Edward Burtynsky’s Oil
  • Roya Khoshnevis (Leiden Univ, Netherlands), Gas Flares: The aesthetical dimensions of oil technology in Iranian cinematography
  • Brian Black (Penn State, USA), The Landscape of Technological Failure: The Culture of Crude after the 2010 Gulf Spill

14:30-15:00 Fika

15:00-17:00 Session 4: Alternate aesthetics of water

  • Helena Nynäs (Univ of Oslo, Norway), Illustrating the transformation of major waterfalls
  • Michael Truscello (Mount Royal Univ., Canada), Drowned town fiction: from the Tennessee Valley Authority to The Town That Drowned
  • Leonie Skelton (Univ of Bristol, UK), The Power of the Water at the Source of the River Tyne: Hydro-Electricity, the UK’s Largest Man-made Lake and Four Decades of Aesthetical Controversy

Workshop dinner

Saturday, 28 May 2016

8:00-10:00 Session 6: Gray to green

  • Claire Portal (Univ of Poitiers, France), Geodiversity and anthropocene landscapes: from abandonment to new perceptions in European coal mining landscapes
  • Ute Hasenohri (Innsbruck Univ, Austria), Fairy tale lakes and sunken landscapes, monster lines and a new green hope: The contentious perception of energy landscapes in Germany, 1945-2015
  • Nora Thorade (Helmut Schmidt University, Germany), From grey to green: How German coal mining regions develop from industrial to cultural landscapes

10:00-10:30 Fika

10:30-12:30 Tour

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-15:30 Session 7: Unseen energy landscapes

  • Marianna Dudley (Bristol Univ, UK), Beneath the waves at Billia Croo: energy, environment and aesthetics in the Orkney Islands
  • David Hughes (Rutgers Univ, USA), Is clean energy too clean? The abiding sterility of wind power
  • Dan van der Horst (Univ of Edinburgh, UK), Justice in the eye of the beholder? An essay on wind machines in the post-productivist landscape

15:30-16:00 Fika

16:00-17:00 Closing discussion

Financial support provided by the Area of Excellence in Renewable Energy at Luleå University of Technology to Dolly Jørgensen