Memories of a Pipeline
Part of the group show: THEM OR US!
02/06 - 13/08/2017
Galeria Municipal do Porto
Curated by Paulo Mendes
I always wondered how life inside a pipeline would look like. I have no clue if it is possible to calculate the amount of space inside all the pipelines that existe on Earth but one thing is certain: it must be a lot. Imagine that one day they are all drained, what will happen inside all these tubes? Kilometres and kilometres of empty space running through different layers of earth slowly will be inhabited by creatures that will bring to us the memory of insurgency.
Some years ago I started to collect pictures of the small oil-city in the middle of Siberia. Its name is Raduzhnny. I lived in this city until I was 6 and it became part of my mythology. The name of the city comes from the word rainbow and there are different stories that recount its origins. My interest however lies in a metaphor that the name provides. For me it became a materialisation of the natural phenomenon: a place that I can see, know the exact location, but there is no way that I can get there, only through images.
This kind of virtualisation can easily be associated with idilic pictures of colonies and Raduzhnny is no exception. The indigenous population of Khanty
and Mansi started to deal with administrative structures raised to support oil and gas extraction, now, its total population is 2.2% due to the immigration flux from all over the former Soviet Union. These newcomers brought with them different kind of equipment to produce imagens and documentation of development began.
Now a days people started to share their memories online. The nostalgia of this place keeps my curiosity alive and from time to time I look for the places that were part of my youth. One day I found ten black and white pictures from the seventies, at this time Raduzhnny was only a small settlement. They looked like my father’s job, probably they also were made by an petroleum engineer. I decided to print them with a black backside and build a model of a pipeline. As soon as I started to fold them I was struck by the shapes that started to emerge, the model of a pipeline was transformed in these creatures that I captured with the aid of a mirror.