The Ambivalence of Oil Aesthetics

| January 1, 2019 | Artikkel
Ocean Viking, Gunhild Vatn, Porcelain plate, 2019


This paper discusses how historical, linguistic and visual representations of the Norwegian oil industry creates an aesthetic expression of optimistic enthusiasm related to Norwegian oil extraction. With a more complex contemporary reading, this topic also provokes a more dystopic and negatively charged image. This ambiguity expresses an ideological dilemma representative of our time. Documentary photographs from the construction of Norway’s first oil drilling platform Ocean Viking, which was built at Aker Mechanical shipyard right in front of the Oslo City Hall 1966–67, is essential to this topic. These documentary photographs represent an ideological manifestation of Norway as an oil nation. The potential of these images has been developed in an artistic research project, to evoke emotions and create reflection on ethical dilemmas related to our identity as an oil nation. 

This paper is published in the publication : Oslofjord Ecologies
Artistic Research on Environmental and Social Sustainability
Edited by Kristin Bergaust, Rasa Smite and Diana Silina

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