GLOBALISING THE INTERNATIONALE (2009–ongoing)
Wooden stage on wheels, (6×3×1m), four loudspeakers, HD video (c. 25 min.).
Oil has been processed in the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, since the 1960s and Europe’s highest capacity refinery, owned by Royal Dutch Shell, operates there alongside the facilities of four other companies. The context of this formidable powerhouse, and the fact that Switzerland has a direct link to Rotterdam by importing oil along the Rhine from Basel (close to the artists’ home town of Zürich) led Hemauer | Keller to develop 'Globalising the Internationale' (2009) in the context of a series of public commissions initiated by the Port of Rotterdam Authority. Starting with a counter-movement, the artists arranged for an oil tanker to transport a wooden stage from Basel to Rotterdam and followed its progress along the Rhine. This provided the setting for the project’s culmination on the 7th and 8th November 2009. Two professional choirs gave public performances of the Postpetrolistic Internationale a polyphonic choral anthem written by the artists with Mathias Vetter in 2008. The first choir sang quayside in Rotterdam’s maritime heart near the Havenmuseum (Harbor Museum) and the second on the Maasvlakte (port land constructed in the North Sea) with E.ON’s coal-fired power station as a backdrop. Inspired by rousing socialist songs, the artists’ lyrics question and provoke our willingness to face future energy challenges in the light of resource exhaustion and societal excess. “Happiness is wastefulness” incites the anthem’s caustic refrain, echoing the sentiments of the artists’ Postpetrolism Manifesto.
'The Postpetrolistic Internationale' was performed by a choir at the opening of the 'United Alternative Energies' (21 January 2011) and in the exhibition Hemauer | Keller present a video document of the stage’s Rhine journey and the Rotterdam and Aarhus choral events, alongside the stage itself with music scores and the invitation for visitors to perform the aspirational anthem of hope-in-action themselves. The score is also reproduced in this publication in the ‘choral octavo’ centre pages.