Relasjoner / Relay(tions)
Oil promotion videos
Relasjoner / Relay(tions) is an art relay going on at Kinokino. It started with the project of serving crow meat as a delicacy by Tove Kommedal, now the turn has come to Sutharsan Bala.
Bala presents videos made for the oil industry. One is filled with beautiful landscapes, oil installations and serious business people in offices, all the time claiming how efficient, prosperous and environmental friendly they are. But the real gem is a video explaining deep sea drilling aspects through a metaphor of picking apples. The movie is slick, slightly humorous and very informative, it probably gets all oil company owners to clap their hands and all kids wanting to be oil engineers.
This mood is strengthened by a news article where a local company head claims there are too many youngsters being educated in dance and music, while the real need is for oil engineers. Comments to this article are included, dominated by angry men claiming art and culture is a waste of taxpayer money, while the real values are created on the oil rigs.
I cannot help thinking there is an inherent irony in this, whether intended or not. As neither oil production or the use of its products can never become environmental friendly, it is hilarious to witness how important it now has become for oil companies to claim how "environmental friendly" they are. Knowing "environmental friendly" actual means "slightly less polluting". Especially the apple picking video, where oil drilling is explained by how to pick apples more efficiently, I clearly notice that no oil is shown at all, exept a short ride by the protagonist on a mini tractor.
It is the setting that changes the mood of the videos. If displayed on the biennal oil fair nobody would question the content, but rather applaud the message. But in an art venue it has me thinking that things are maybe not as they seem. Hmmm... The art venue has an effect on me to become a thinking, rational, emotional and critical being. Maybe we need art and culture after all?