MY ELECTRIC GENEALOGY
The network of high-voltage transmission lines connecting Los Angeles to its far-flung sources of power evolved over decades. For nearly 40 years my grandfather was intimately involved with the planning, design, and management of this system. An engineer with an artist’s eye, he photographed innovations in electrical delivery with one foot in the aesthetic and another in the techno-scientific sublime. These images project into a future of their own obsolescence: transmission towers as monuments to the anthropocene, awaiting transformation through a queered practice of transnatural care. The performance responds to the recent popularization of the “anthropocene” in the arts through the lens of gender, materiality, and an expanded sense of “familial obligation.”
“My Electric Genealogy” is a performative lecture and series of film fragments that weave together images, objects, and auto/biography to explore aging electrical infrastructure as inter-generational climate debt. Channeling my grandfather through a suit that might have been his, I deliver a monologue that is half family narrative, half meditation on the intellectual and material inheritances of twentieth-century technocracies. I deliver the monologue before a large screen playing a series of film clips and original animations running in loose synchronization with my speech, sometimes concretizing, at other times rendering more poetic the meaning of the spoken word.