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produced with support from NBK Vederlagsfondet, Kulturrådet og KIN Kunstsenterene i Norge

Myth: The world cannot do without fossil energy the next 30 years.  

Myth: The world’s energy demand will increase significantly the next 20 years.  

Myth: The capacity for action is limited  

Challenge: The lack of perspective, understanding of magnitude and which measures that provide results  

Challenge: Focus must be directed towards structural solutions, not individual. 

Over recent years, Margrethe Kolstad Brekke has developed ambitious projects contextualising the paradigm shift currently taking place within the energy sector. In close collaboration with Kristin Gulbrandsen Frøysa and Finn Gunnar Nielsen from the University in Bergen, Margrethe developed five key questions and myths to be the focus of the exhibition Potential Exceeds The Demand.
Present all around us, the discussion of global warming and climate change is everywhere. A young Swedish woman frontiers and activated a world wide movement of student strikes. Renewable energy headlines in the statements of political parties. News and social media are filled with reports and discussions that tell us to see and listen to the warning signs to take immediate action to reduce our CO2 exhaust and engage in alternative energy sources. The potential and research into new forms of energy grows is at its largest ever and small scale operations are rapidly emerging all over the world. We are on the brink of completely radical new changes of our the way we produce energy, the question just seems to be: what are we waiting for? The exhibition Potential Exceeds the Demand presents a series of new works, based on a selection of essential key questions defining the complex and messy process of energy transition and the way the discourse is being communicated.

Mathijs Van Geest, Director, Hordaland Art Centre


(Radio Luftballett Jingle)

I was born in the sixties, and when I grew up in a village not far from Bergen, a lot of people were still farmers and they had to utilize, really utilize, all available resources in order to make a good, or reasonable, living. Today the people in that village, and in Norway in general, are not so much linked to the local resources anymore. We buy things from all over the world, we travel all over the world, and we--- I think many Norwegians in some way think that the resources are unlimited. Because many Norwegians have enough money to buy whatever they want. And they don’t think that- if they don’t get what they want one place they can get it from another place. So there is basically not limitations on the resources they can utilize. And that is a very important structural shift from utilizing local resources and be very closely linked with the resources in your vicinity – to this kind of we-buy-what-wewant and we do not feel the limitations so much.

(Radio Luftballett Jingle)

My name is Kristin Guldbrandsen Frøysa, and I am the Energy Director at the University of Bergen. The challenge with replacing petroleum, fossil fuels, with renewables, is enormous. And many people are afraid of this deep transformation that we need to do, in order to have a sustainable energy system. But I think it is important to remember that we have made major shifts earlier as well--- people have gone from using horses to cars, - from sail to steam engines, - and also we have had the very rapid shift when internet was introduced. And I think people living today can hardly think about life 30 years ago – with no smart 
cell phones, no internet, you can`t hardly-- you cant imagine-- cause it has transformed our society in a very, very deep way. So-- we have had rapid transformations of our society and our lifestyles earlier as well-- and that should give us the courage to do the transformation away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. There are of course a lot of challenges. Today’s infrastructure. Coal fired plants. Oil platforms. Gasoline cars. And so on. So of course- today`s infrastructure-- is a part of the problem. But there are a lot of signals that this shift from fossil fuels to renewable--- can be made rather fast---and much faster than people 10 years ago thought, with for instance the solar PV becoming very cheap, onshore wind, you have offshore wind, the prizes are decreasing very fast, and you have also a lot of economic incentives to do this shift. But also you have other drivers. You have pollution, where people in heavily polluted cities, like Beijing, New Delhi, and many other cities, say that we, we will not accept this pollution. And that will of course force a transition to renewable energy. And you have people and organisations that have sued governments, because they say that ``you knew about climate risk. You knew about climate change. But you did not do enough to stop CO2 emissions. `` And of course that is also a force. That forces politicians to do something in order to reduce CO2 emissions. So, - the reduction of CO2 emissions from energy, there are many, many forces that go in the same direction and will force this shift and it might come much more rapid, rapidly than people thought.

(Radio Luftballett Jingle)

Renewable energy --- that is just part of the solution to the much more comprehensive problem of sustainability.
And United Nations do have 17 sustainable development goals. Agenda 2030. And these goals are kind of pointing towards the society we would like to have. And one of the goals is goal number 7. Clean and affordable energy for all. Another goal is ``Climate Action`` which is goal number 13, and then we have a challenge, in goal number 8, which is economic growth, and of course, economic growth, at least in Northern Europe, is really in conflict, ehm, I would say, with Climate Action for instance. Because Economic Growth in our region, implies that people buy much more goods, and that is not sustainable. So a challenge when it comes to sustainability—is-- we have to think about our economic system. And we had a conference in Bergen, 1st week of February, hosted by University of Bergen, dealing with the conflicts between various sustainable development goals – and one of the sessions-- was addressing goal number 8, economic growth, and climate action. And we discussed both renewable energy, but also, how the economic system is shaped, and whether we need a reshaping of the whole economic system. In order to meet peoples needs --- but not to overshoot the limits of the earth. So I think these are very important questions. And this is a challenge that cannot be solved by individuals. We need political solutions. We need structural changes.

(Radio Luftballett Jingle)

We have seen a major structural shift from 100 years ago in the Norwegian society. Where at least many people were very closely linked to what they could get out of the local resources --- to todays society where people buy whatever they want, they travel wherever they want, and even though if people start to not throw away that much food anymore, reduce the consumption of meat, and so on, it`s still just a very tiny change, compared 
with a structural change, so I think we need to assess our system, and our structures, in order to both have a renewable energy system, but also to reduce our consumption and make our economic system sustainable.

(Radio Luftballett Jingle)


The Case For Hope Amidst Climate Change Catastrophe By Siddharth Sareen

Is hope apocalyptic after all?

Does it let us wait, twiddling our thumbs,

In between bursts

Of furious


Do we find kindred spirits

In our search for salvation and think

We are closer

To accomplishment?

When in fact, loss follows loss,

Wildfires burn,

Countries drown,

Species disappear.

Or would that be an unkind misconstrual?

Do times like this

Render us in need Of friends,

now more than ever?

Is compassion our mast

Hope our guiding star

And empathy born of friendship

The wind in our gutsy sails?

Who loses? What prevails?

We fought for

Initiative sixteen thirty-one

The Pacific Northwest

The first frontier

Of hope for change to a politics of trying

Of recognising

What times call on us to do.

To make polluters pay, to compensate

Victims of fossil fuels and give a chance

To an energy sector powered by renewables

In the here and now

Rather than

A decade hence.

But Big Oil poured in millions

Money talked and people listened

The Initiative took a beating.

Opportunities are fleeting

And it’s already

Out of sight, out of mind,

All that we must leave behind.

No time to mope, the only way

To cope is to return to hope.

Or is it? Does hope motivate

Here in Seattle’s sister city

Connected by a totem pole

Down at Nordnes in Bergen?

Or does remoteness obfuscate

While hope simply distracts,

Sustaining the unsustainable

Regurgitating facts

About one point five degrees

While delaying acts

That would keep it all in the ground,

Firmly under the sea

Out around Lofoten

Where our politics are floundering

Much like Pacific island states?

What scope is there for hope

When murder merely agitates

Blinded by greed? A world that’s rigged

To keep expanding drilling.

Pumped by oil, we grease the wheels

And keep the coffers filling.

Softly we murmur “We are better

Than others at not spilling.”

The most majestic icebergs thaw

Glaciers are melting

New trade routes emerge

As opportunity.

That submerges hope.

It is a more powerful motivator.

What about the opportunity

To save hundreds of millions,

Entire coastal cultures from submergence?

When debate is anchored in opportunism

Hope is reduced to a spectacle.

We must defy and contest such

Imaginaries. Call them out


As misleading hopemongers.

Hope is not Janus-faced, it does not look


When counter-arguments are deposited.

Hope rests in respectful judgement,

In rooting for measured deliberation.

With no respect, no room for basic dignity,

No recognition of the right to life In all its fullness

And diversity

It is apocalypse now.

Channel hope

To resist the dislocation

That perpetuates fossil fuel hegemony

And paves the way

For regulation to depoliticise

What is the most political thing of all:

Our future, our here and now,

The right to echo the call

Championed by Greta Thunberg.

Hope is a tool to levy

Reasonable demands in unreasonable times

Expecting power to yield to truth.

We live in an apocalyptic moment

That empathy and friendship help us recognise.

Solidarity is our vessel of choice

And on these tumultous waters under

Cloudy skies, hope is our guiding star.

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