Oil's well in Aberdeen as Peacock Visual Arts presents group show OilScapes

By Ben Miller | 21 September 2012
A photo of a set of oil rigs on water under open air
Marc Wolfensberger's Oil Rocks - City Above the Sea is one of the films being screened as part of the new exhibition at Peacock Visual Arts in Aberdeen© Marc Wolfensberger
Exhibition Preview: OilScapes, Peacock Visual Arts, Aberdeen, September 22 – October 27 2012

There are few better places to witness the connections between oil, industry and landscape than Aberdeen.

An image of a tall illustration of a series of objects moving in space on a brown board
Aga Ousseinov, The Arctic Landscape (Innocent Version). Mixed media© Aga Ousseinov
Curated by the Royal College of Art’s Zeigam Azizov and the University of Aberdeen’s Janet Stewart, this artistic exploration of the triumvirate takes a historical, environmental and academic approach, beginning with an oral archive on the “oil diaspora”, Lives in the oil Industry, and expanding through a series of installations including Melik Ohanian’s video, Hidden, in which the sun sets over oilfields in Texas and Baku.

Aberdeen remains the setting for Zeigam Azizov’s Conversation Piece, a multimedia installation informed by the trend among 18th century British portrait painters to show informal groups making genteel conversation, this time taking Russians in the granite city as its subjects.

Modernism provokes Owen Logan and Aga Ousseinov: Logan’s photo-essay illustrates how the oil economy allows the hopes and fears of modernity to be expressed, and Ousseinov has created a bi-partite, message-carrying kite which connects continents and the past alongside thoughts on the changing Arctic landscape.

And Peter Fend proposes a hydrocabron industry dependent on water-based plants as a solution to global warming and desertification. Fend’s talk on the opening weekend, After Oil, was originally intended to explain how a switch from fossil to biological energy production could transform the Gulf and Caspian region, but the aftershock of the death of the US Ambassador to Libya in the region means he’ll now be explaining why the necessary action is as difficult and urgent as ever.

A globetrotting accompanying series of documentaries and films cover the Cromarty Firth, small-town Pennsylvania, the building sites of Dubai and Oil Rocks – Stalin’s city of oil rigs built in the Caspian Sea.


More pictures:

A photo of a film still showing a grass space with stock exchange annotations beneath
Christian Von Borries, The Dubai in Me (2010)© Christian Von Borries
An image of a black and white film still showing people moving on a rig above a city
Murad Ibragimbekov, Civilisation (2003)© Murad Ibragimbekov
An image of a film still showing smoke billowing from towers in a rural industrial setting
Emily Richardson, Petrolia (2005)© Emily Richardson
An image of a black and white film still of people on a rig being attended to by medics
Murad Ibragimbekov, Oil (2003)© Murad Ibragimbekov
An image of a film still showing a man with headphones on playing a guitar on grassland
Josh Fox, Gasland (2010)© Josh Fox
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