Pelamis Wave Energy Machine – a museum exhibit

This visual poem has just been published in the journal of Cultural Anthropology, as part of their special collection ‘Our Lives with Electric Things’.

View the published poem.

“Why was the first Pelamis scrapped and not displayed on a plinth?” he asked me. So here is a plinth, perhaps not quite the stone block with inscription that he imagined. On this plinth is Pelamis as a museum exhibit, although not quite Pelamis the machine: rather, Pelamis as a visual poem in memory and honor.


Click here to see the exhibit

Pelamis has been one of the icons
of the marine renewables industry.”
“The waves will keep pounding…
the world is still using fossil fuels…
we know marine energy will have its day.”

– Neil Kermode, European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney,
on the occasion of Pelamis Wave Power going into administration.

This exhibit is her story;
she will live on in words,
long after the oil is gone;
future archaeologists will dive
for her, raise her up,
immortal, remembered,
“our sea snake” (they say, even now),
the first to make wave energy on the grid.

Reference: Watts, Laura (2017) Pelamis Wave Energy Machine: A Museum Exhibit, in Carbon, Barbara, Watts, Laura and Parish, Erin. “Our Electric H₂O.” Theorizing the Contemporary, Cultural Anthropology website, December 19, 2017.