Oliver Ressler

(Knittelfeld, Austria, 1970)

Reclaiming Abundance, 2021

Digital print on dibond behind acrylic glass
100 x 52,7 cm.

The six photographic works comprising the series “Reclaiming Abundance” are deeply marked by the social reality of the climate crisis. Fossil fuel-dependent infrastructure across Styria was photographed using a drone: the Graz Airport, an abattoir/meat-packing plant, the Mellach gas/thermal power station, the Magna Steyr automotive works, the Bruck an der Mur Autobahn interchange, and a ski jump facility.

The series sets out to imagine a situation where global temperatures have continued to rise and disasters have multiplied accordingly. If climate collapse is to be avoided, all the infrastructure shown must become obsolete by 2050. At the same time, however, the structural transformation required for a carbon-neutral society has already begun, building on the principles of democratic participation and global climate justice. The images here also seek to imagine how the region might adapt before 2050 to new forms of resource use and human activity.

The title “Reclaiming Abundance” alludes to the commonplace that only capitalism could ever have produced the abundance now existing in the world. This cliché conveniently forgets the grossly unfair distribution of the abundance, the mass extinction of species and planetary ecological destruction entailed in extracting the wealth. It also forgets that most of the world’s population are condemned to wretched poverty by the very means of extraction that so efficiently exploit them and the land they live on.
The photo series turns all this around: abundance for all will come only after present social conditions are dissolved. It will require total transformation both of human social relationships and of relationships between human, animal and plant species.

Drone photography: Verena Tscherner
Rendering: estudio elgozo
Image editing: Markus Wörgötter
Layout: Juma Hauser
Translation: Anja Büchele, Matthew Hyland

The photo series was carried out in the framework of the show: 
SHOWING STYRIA: what will be. Towards a Plurality of Futures”, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz (AT), 10.04.-31.10.2021

“Reclaiming Abundance” (Graz Airport) Digital print on dibond behind acrylic glass, 100 x 52,7 cm, 2021

“Reclaiming Abundance” (Mellach gas and thermal power plant), Digital print on dibond behind acrylic glass, 100 x 52,7 cm, 2021