Stranded Assets–Modulo 2: Protezione Ambientale is a modified reproduction of a regulations and emissions handbook retrieved from the recently decommissioned coal-fired Giuseppe Volpi power station in Porto Marghera, Venice. Lewitt retrieved this handbook in the course of research for his work Stranded Assets at the 57th Biennale d’Arte Venezia.
The general set of operational standards presented and explained in this handbook are paired against fragments and images taken from the Volpi plant, inserting particular fragments from this defunct energy infrastructure against the legislative context that prescribed its operation. Most conspicuously, transparency pages depicting four lamps featured in the central stairwell of the power station are evenly dispersed throughout the book. The lamps’ form resembles an open book whose ‘pages’ are populated with vertical rows of glass rods, through which light is refracted into the building’s stairwell.
Lewitt’s contribution to the Biennale consists in temporarily displacing these lamps into the Venetian Arsenale—the former site of the turbines that powered Venice, which was taken over by the Volpi plant. In his installation in the Arsenale, the original lamps illuminate his designated exhibition area. As an updated facsimile of an ENEL technical manual detailing emissions standards, the book pursues the gap that persists between the experience of a well-lit space of representation, and control of the energy commodity that lights it.