From off-grid ecovillages to citizen monitoring of energy-related pollution, this panel explores energy experiments as projects in which energy is rendered both as an excitable material and as a site for political contestation.
Off-grid ecovillages, online energy communities, indigenous electricity projects, collective metering initiatives and citizen monitoring of energy-related pollution using DIY technologies. Energy experiments are proliferating in diverse contexts and settings. Experiments because they render energy both as an excitable material and as a site for the politicization of issues, institutions and arrangements. First, energy experiments tinker new engagements with water, solar, wind, electricity and other elemental forces, thus enlivening energy as a provocative yet resistant matter that is gathered and circulated through multifarious practices of intervention, making and care. Second, energy experiments are also social projects in which the otherwise is rendered possible (Povinelli 2007). In these experiments novel forms of collaboration and endurance are congealed, inciting new problematizations about how energy is governed in late liberalism. Notions such as participation, citizenship, 'smart communities', intervention and change are thus transfigured by the flourishing of alternative modes of engaging with energy. And third, insofar energy is an existent that forces thought and affection in the everyday, energy experiments relocate politics away from the sublime spaces of the public sphere and closer to the mundane, the intimate, the bodily and the uneventful. This panel invites papers that critically explore the many ways in which energy experiments are lived, produced and politicised. Topics might include, but are not limited to: - Material speculations in alternative energy projects. - Energy experiments as forms of political resistance. - Activism and grassroot energy interventions. - Energy production and more-than-human entanglements. - Open infrastructuring and collective innovation in energy systems and consumption. - Energy experiments, citizenship and participation.