Best from both worlds – enhancing energy transition in Russia and Finland by making resource flows visible (FLOWISION), 2021-2024

The FLOWISION consortium focuses on the visibility of fossil and renewable energy and waste as they traverse through the society in Russia and Finland. By unfolding how these resource flows are made (in)visible in these contexts opens avenues to understand how these commodities are part of the political. That is, visibility and visualization of resource flows, or the lack of it, tells about how these commodities are being (de)politicized, and how they are being imagined as part of climate mitigation policies and practices, and the broader environmental agenda. This knowledge makes it possible both to understand and promote climate-friendly policies and practices. The FLOWISION project aims to learn from both contexts – look for the best narratives and practices – to come up with advice how to speed up the energy transition.

We study (de)visualization and (de)politicization of resource flows with an assemblage approach. Hence, we scrutinize how the materialities (e.g. infrastructures) entangled and discourses associated with these resources are utilized to build societally and politically desired assemblages. We head to understand these energy and waste assemblages via three realms: the energy sector, civic activism, and the media.

The synthesis of basic research within the FLOWISION project provides us with knowledge facilitating energy transition to a carbon-neutral world beyond the contexts of Russia and Finland. Thus, we engage in action research by proposing new ways to visualize and thus make the flows of fossil and renewable energies, and waste part of political debates, in Russia and Finland, and beyond. This visualization and politicization will be carried out by leaning on co-production between the team’s scientists, journalists and artists, and it includes research on the societal impact of our co-production actions.

Russia is probably not thought of as a country to teach others how to become more sustainable, as there are major environmental problems in the country. However, the way flows of oil and gas are visualized for the broader public in Russia is interesting. These practices can teach Finland and other energy-poor countries, and in the end Russia as well, how to politicize resource flows – from fossil and renewable energies to waste – in order to enhance our necessary path towards climate neutrality.

Project researchers:
Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen
Olga Bychkova
Elena Gorbacheva
Sakari Höysniemi
Sohvi Kangasluoma
Teemu Oivo
Olga Dovbysh
Dmitry Yagodin
Margarita Zavadskaya

Project artists:
Touko Hujanen, photojournalist
Johannes Roviomaa, journalist
Niko Väistö,documentary film director

Project partners:
Center for Science and Technology Studies, EUSP, St. Petersburg, Russia

Posts about the events and publication related to this project can be accessed via the hashtag FLOWISION.