Alto Rabagão Power Station: Busbar Shaft, from the series The Time Machine 2011 Photograph by Edgar Martins

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Art Description

Photography: C-type on Aluminium.

The Time Machine is a body of previously unseen works, shot between 2010 and 2011. Structured as a topographic survey of hydro-electricity generating plants in Martins’ native Portugal, The Time Machine "records spaces and objects that characterise a suspended time, that of the modern: machines and rooms which simultaneously place us in genuine science-fiction settings and in an unavoidable field of nostalgia”. (J. Pinharanda)

Working closely with the EDP Foundation, Martins gained exclusive access to 20 power plants located across the country. Many of the power stations were built between the 1950's and 1970's, a time of hopeful prospects of rapid economic growth and social change. Their tacit raison-d’être was to fuel the country’s expansion and propel it into a prosperous future. Forty years on, and now largely automated, most of the power stations are operated by half a dozen employees at the most, including specialists, cleaning and security staff. Computerised mechanisms regulate the complex hydroelectric system, which underpins the production and distribution of energy, lending consistency to the fantasy of machines ruling over man. Although the power stations were conceived at a time when man and machine envisaged a shared future, today, they allude to the paradox of this impossibility, and reveal the broken promises of this unrealized prospect of modernity.


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Alto Rabagão Power Station: Busbar Shaft, from the series The Time Machine 2011

Edgar Martins

Photography

Size: 59.1 W x 47.2 H x 1.6 in

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