by Richardson, Emily

Video 2005

Figuring Landscapes

A specially commissioned film of the changing coastline of Scotland by the maker of the award winning Aspect, Petrolia portrays a fluid interaction between landscape and population, sea and machine. Filmed in time-lapse, giant oil platforms take begin to resemble organic forms and our sense of scale is gradually eroded.Also availiable as a three screen installation (as exhibited at The Lighthouse, Glasgow 2005). Sound by Benedict Drew.

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Petrolia takes its name from a redundant oil-drilling platform in the Cromarty Firth, Scotland.The film looks at the architecture of the oil industry along the Scottish coastline where oil and gas supplies are predicted to run dry in the next forty years.The oil industry in Scotland appears to be going the same way as the fishing industry in the last 10 years – it will soon be so depleted that these relatively common sights of rigs being towed into the firth, belching plumes of smoke and the surreal landscape of Grangemouth may not be for much longer…So in some sense the film is an historical document.The film also gives the ‘bigger picture’ of geological or cosmological time. Shot on 16mm film and using time lapse and long exposure techniques the film presents a record of industrial phenomena – the toxic beauty of the refinery at Grangemouth, huge drilling platforms gliding across the water as they come in for maintenance and repair at Nigg and the last dance of the shipbuilding cranes in Glasgow harbour.


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