A History of Oil 

©2020 ongoing

With climate change being the most urgent topic for mankind, I'm determined since 20 years to dedicate my creativity to help raise awareness to this possible doom. 

As a further investigation into the subject of climate change and its implications, I decided to trace back at the origin of one of the major problems: Oil. 

Since plastic was the theme of my latest work, the subsequent research on oil was consistent. The history of oil begins with its formation in organic single-cell organisms.

Looking at the similarity of these monads and the newly developed bacteria living on plastic waste (see my work: Amalgamated Fragmentations–Plastisphere), I decided to close the circle with the project of a book, creating a visual history of the provenance, the exploitation, the processing and the products of oil with all the ensuing issues.

In the last couple of decades human beings are modifying and destroying nature by burning fossil material which synthesized during millions of years and subsequently leading to the actual global warming. 

 

Absolutely nothing that accompanies, surrounds or is consumed in our everyday life is not connected with oil in any way. Neither are political decisions, financial- and medical systems, food economy, demographic changes and globalized inequality.

Simultaneously, all man-made material deriving from oil accumulating on and in the earth, in water and air is bound to last for the next millions of years.

The OIL project was created during the Corona crisis and bears witness to this in various ways: Bacteria created life on earth as well as crude oil and now are living from plastic residues, this as an analogy to the pandemic virus, a tiny little thing decisive for life and death. My working method is a search for images on the Internet and in my archive, the flood of images an analogy to mass production, abundance and immoderation. The blue sky without contrails, which for the first time for millions of people to be seen (and also might be the last time for many others) has been inserted as chapter-spreads.

The work is divided into different themes, such as the production and exploitation of crude oil, wars dependent on it, all means of transport, the petrochemical-rich food chain, other derivatives and their consequences, the contamination of entire landscapes and groundwater, right down to plastic and its decomposition into microplastics, which in turn are crushed again by bacteria, but will never completely disappear.

This project consists of about 150 images and is conceived as a publication as well as a multimedia installation in collaboration with Iris Rennert.

©2018 Florence Iff

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