19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

HeHe | 2015

The art collective HeHe drops a massive high-voltage electricity pylon into the canal at Oud Sint-Jan (Old St John’s). A crackling, flashing sculpture that draws the attention to something that - in a self-consciously medieval city like Bruges - would normally be neatly tucked away. This sight of the naked infrastructure of our electricity supply causes a ripple of shock. The ‘foreign body’ in a preserved old city tackles various other metropolitan issues such as noise, light pollution and unsustainable energy use. A large-scale sculpture of modern technology in a setting of canals, stepped gables and horse-drawn carriages: HeHe disturbs the idyll of the medieval city of Bruges. Undercurrent triggers a visual and auditory shock wave in an environment where nothing indicates that such a thing as an industrial or technological revolution ever occurred. The size of the steel structure contrasts with the small-scale of the buildings around it. Around the pylon, you can hear the electrical hum, hiss, tick and crackle. Cables float on the water. When it’s dark they emit flashes of light. The seemingly archaic construction disturbs the image of the preserved old town. It tarnishes and it demands attention. The floating pylon also prompts reflection. It questions energy supply, light and noise pollution, changing energy needs and the demand for cities to be sustainable. The high-voltage pylon is a symbol of progress and collective energy. Does the fallen pylon refer to the end of utopian aspirations or to wasting energy? At the same time, this installation underlines the inevitability of signs of technology floating to the surface - even in a city that is operated as a shiny, historical oasis.


Site Oud Sint-Jan

UK | Germany


The British-German art collective HeHe consists of Helen Evans (1972, Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom) and Heiko Hansen (1970, Pinneberg, Germany). They are based in Paris. HeHe explores the ‘undesired needs’ of people: health, security, communication, energy and the environment. In their practice they confront and expose the implications and hidden dimensions of ecological threats. They also play with the relationships between the microscopically small and the gigantically large. They often cause symbols and metaphors to converge with daily reality. The collective shapes technology, designs art, abuses methods and techniques and opens up new vistas. In short, HeHe forges the past and fakes the future.

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