This series of photographs was produced as part of the project Imatges metropolitanes de la nova Barcelona (Metropolitan Images of the New Barcelona), a 2007 MACBA initiative under which different artists were commissioned to offer a diagnosis of Barcelona and its poles of innovation. The resulting work was presented in the exhibition Arxiu universal. La condició del document i la utopia fotogràfica moderna (Universal Archive. The Condition of the Document and the Modern Photographic Utopia), which opened in Barcelona the following year. Allan Sekula documented the arrival at the Barcelona harbour of ships carrying methane. Built in the north of Spain, the ships transport this dangerous substance from the gas fields of Qatar, Libya and Algeria. Sekula photographed them from either the prow or the stern, the only two places where it is allowed for reasons of security, since a mere click of the shutter could generate a sparkle of static electricity and cause an accident. He also photographed different scenarios from the port terminal for inflammable substances, where the gas is transported via submarine conducts to the Besòs power plant, owned by Gas Natural. Sekula’s interest lies in the globalisation of commerce and its impact on contemporary life.
Life Preserver, Sestao Knutsen. Sèrie: «Methane for All»