PLATFORM has created Scorch/Drench – an installation and a one week of films, discussions and workshops which inform and challenge our relationship to oil, at the invitation of curators of the season “Gentle Actions – Art, Ecology, Action” at Kunstnernes Hus Oslo, running 22.10.10 – 14.11.10. Anna and I aren’t travelling out there for a couple of weeks, so the installation has been done on our behalf. Fingers crossed…

In the gallery are three pieces installed in relation to each other: the Carbon Map, the Carbon Web, and the film No Condition is Permanent.

The Carbon Map and the Carbon Web are both based on PLATFORM’s research, realised with activist design group Ultimate Holding Company (UHC Collective). The Map shows existing global carbon trade routes, future fossil fuel production, existing consumption levels and the effects of this on the global environment, and was a commission from the Transport Planning Society.

The Carbon Web presents a sectoral analysis of interests in oil for Shell and BP, two London-based companies. The Web is a live research tool – here frozen – which analyses the changing relationships, presented here for the first time in public.

In the film “No Condition is Permanent” poets Dorothea Smartt and Simon Murray (African Writers Abroad) confront us with their words on climate and resource justice. They were commissioned by PLATFORM as part of the 2009 major project C Words: Carbon, Climate, Capital, Culture at Arnolfini, Bristol, England. The film is by (2010, 20 mins, loop).

For the last week of Gentle Actions, a member of PLATFORM will be resident in the gallery, meeting audience, artists, activists, and hosting the Scorch/Drench film season and discussions. Anna Grigoryeva – Arctic oil researcher – and Jane Trowell – facilitator – will travel out to Oslo to activate the week.

Every evening, from 5 – 8pm, you are invited to travel to parts of the world acutely affected by oil and gas extraction, and to connect that to finance, and to our own lives. Each evening’s programme builds on the previous, starting with Canada’s Tar Sands on Tuesday, the Niger Delta on Wednesday, finance and banking on Thursday, Caspian oil on Friday. Researchers and artists from PLATFORM will skype in for the post-film discussions. This builds towards the Arctic, Art, and Activism Weekend.

On Saturday 13th there is a film screening in the morning and panel discussion in the afternoon on the Arctic, specifically Norway’s role. On Sunday 14th there is a morning event on how artists are changing the climate of opinion, and in the afternoon, a practical workshop on art, activism, climate change and Norway. Where next?

Finally we will invite visitors to comment, and to contribute and map their own experiences of oil, and oil dependency, and how to retreat from this. We will also address the issue of how to make and share culture in a low-carbon future. How can Norway move away from its oil industry?

DAILY FILM, Discussion and Workshop Programme, 9-14 November 2010
Tuesday 9th November, 5 – 8 pm
Canada’s Tar Sands
Film: H2Oil
A 2009 film about the US’s biggest supplier of oil and the “most destructive project on the planet” – the Tar Sands buried under pristine arboreal forest and historic homeland of First Nations peoples in Canada. Followed by discussion with campaigners from Indigenous Environmental Network and PLATFORM.

Wednesday 10th November, 5 – 8pm
Niger Delta, Nigeria
Film: Hanged Man – Nigeria’s Shame. Screened on the 15th anniversary of his execution, Nigerian writer and campaigner Ken Saro-Wiwa makes the case against the degradation of lands and human rights by Shell’s oil extraction in Ogoniland. With campaigners from Remember Saro-Wiwa. Join the European Action Day for Ken Saro-Wiwa. Details

Thursday 11th November, 5 – 8pm
Financing oil dependency, financing climate change
Short films and discussion from campaigners, artist-activists and researchers on banks, investment, and how finance capitalism drives oil dependency. Also how we can intervene in this, including tactics of direct action from the Camp for Climate Action against Royal Bank of Scotland in Edinburgh 2010. With activists and campaigners from PLATFORM and Climate Camp.

Friday 12th November, 5 – 8pm
Caspian Oil: Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey Pipelines
Film: Source (Zdroj) Baku in Azerbaijan, the site of the world’s first oil well, is once again becoming a focus for foreign investors eager to exploit the country’s vast oil riches. “Source” combines live footage with animation, and traces the pipeline from our commuter highways back to this landscape on which our way of life depends, where cows graze on polluted land and children play in toxic gunge. Followed by a discussion with PLATFORM, based on research from our web-based artwork “Burning Capital” and forthcoming book “The Oil Road”.

Saturday 13th November
Arctic Study Day
11.30 – 1pm Film: Arctic Circle, Episode Two: Battle for the Pole
Climate change is hitting the Arctic faster than any other region on Earth, and the resulting sea level rise has huge implications for us all. Arctic Circle, Battle for the Pole introduces us to the oil companies and countries racing to pump oil and gas from beneath the Arctic seabed, with a focus on Norway’s Statoil.

2.30 – 5.30pm Burning our Future: Arctic Oil & Gas in a post-Deepwater Horizon World
Panel and public discussion
A panel of researchers, campaigners, artists and activists from UK, Norway, and Russia discuss implications for the rush to oil and gas exploration in the Arctic in relation to human rights, the environment, culture and climate change, with a focus on Norway.

Sunday 14th November
Art and Activism Day
11.30 – 1.30pm How and why do artists work as activists? Presentation and discussion led by PLATFORM with other artists from Gentle Actions, discussing case studies, investigating problematics, and questions of aesthetics and political change relating to the week’s themes.
2.30 – 5pm Norway, art and activism. This session invites artists and activists who wish to work on issues around oil, climate, and/or the Arctic to come together to share work, to develop networks and critique, and to do some practical planning. Where next ? Facilitated by PLATFORM.

Help us get oil sponsorship out of arts and culture: