UBC’s Old Powerhouse featured in Art Installation

Photo by Michelle Weinstein

As part of our hot water DES transition, UBC Vancouver has decommissioned our old steam-producing powerhouse to transition to hot water production at our new Campus Energy Centre. The boilers and works of the old powerhouse echo a different industrial era and approach to energy production and distribution. Michelle Weinstein, an artist in resident at Portland Community College’s North View Gallery, used images and video from UBC’s old powerhouse to produce an installation using architectural forms, a stream machine, and experimental animation.

Old Powerhouse is an experimental artwork that centres upon two architectural forms: the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, and an electrical powerhouse located on the University of British Columbia campus,” says Weinstein. “In the artwork they are both encountered as monumental projections of history, and used to question the invisible forces that shape the production of the tale of western civilization. Rather than traditional narrative form, the work proposes an alternative historical model; an abstract dialogue describing massive energies, condense and diffuse.”

Composed of a large pyramidical form, an animation which uses the chaotic logic of the internet, and steam, the work brings a dynamic questioning to the processes within the gallery — are they enacting the slow deterioration of a ruin, or the messy first stirrings of life? It is an embodiment of our own strange historical moment; old gods of energy and light groaning, perched between giving life and destroying it.

With special thanks to James Torcov and the employees and engineers of the UBC Powerhouse.

Residency: August 8-31

Exhibition: Augusts 30-October 21

Artists talk and closing reception: October 19, 2-5 pm

North View Gallery
Portland Community College
12000 49th Avenue, Portland OR
Communications Technology Bldg.
8-4 PM Mon-Fri, 11-4 PM Sat