The Time Machine is a multifaceted body of work, which was shot in 20 hydro-electricity generating plants in Martins' native Portugal, between 2010 and 2011.
The images enclosed in this submission focus solely on one aspect of this work: a documentation of oversized tools and custom-made industrial paraphernalia.
Working closely with the EDP Foundation, Martins gained exclusive access to several power stations built between the 1950's and 1970's, a time of hopeful prospects of rapid economic growth and social change. Their tacit raison-d’être was to fuel the country’s expansion and propel it into a prosperous future.
Forty years on, no more than half a dozen people, including specialists and cleaning and security staff, run places which, in some cases, were intended to house up to 250 workers just a few decades ago. These people and their families were intended to live in real villages, hubs of population and urban development in a future which, today, has ultimately emerged as uninhabited.
At each dam, computerised mechanisms now regulate the production and distribution of energy. This has alienated the concrete and immediate power by which reality is governed and concentrated the control of a complex hydroelectric system in a distant centre.
Although the power stations were conceived at a time when man and machine envisaged a shared future, today, the desertification of the technical sites which house the machines (as well as the natural and human landscapes where the dams were constructed), allude to the paradox of this impossibility, and reveal the broken promises of this unrealized prospect of modernity.
The objects and tools recorded in this series not only testify of the ingenuity and ambition of the vision they were built to serve, but also exist as simulations of portraits - portraits of absent bodies. Worn and visceral, and now largely obsolete, unlike the pristine environments they are housed in, these tools are representative of the work force that once used them.
The depiction of tools (as well as empty chairs, desks, etc) is a way of inserting people back into the images, albeit by further emphasising their absence.
The photographs in The Time Machine are, therefore, not just about the generation of power but also of dreams and technological utopias. Because the future announced there is here now; and now we know that nothing has happened in the way that the ideological narrative of the modern wanted us to believe that it would.