installation that maps a psycho-geography of oil pipeline

The Druzhba project is on view at the Critical Infrastructures exhibition at VI PER Gallery in Prague, curated and organized by Irena Lehkoživová, Barbora Špičáková, with the help of Míša Janečková and Narodowy Instytut Architektury i Urbanistyki (Poland).

The Druzhba pipeline has been the subject of research by the artistic couple Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas since 2003. They perceive the pipeline as embodying the distribution and organisation of power relations that change over time and in the physical space comprising several thousand kilometres of pipeline. They attribute to the monumental structure its own metabolism, as if it really were an organism that pumps, transforms, digests, distributes and regurgitates. In the installation they use information gathered from available archival materials or interviews and project it into texts, videos and objects. Their installations bear witness not only to the original intention to build a network that, notwithstanding the euphemistic name Druzhba (Friendship), employs strategies of colonisation and domination, but also to the impact the collapse of the Soviet Union had and is still having on such infrastructure and the communities linked with it. Subsequent privatisation has symbolically shifted what had been a state-controlled instrument of power into private hands, where it is completely beyond public control. The war in Ukraine being fought at present has rendered the potential for critical infrastructure to influence political events even more apparent… (From Critical Infrastructures (
Photo: Peter Fabo, Nomeda Urbonas