The Price of Oil

This 20-min experimental animation video was produced for a music piece performed by contemporary music ensemble Wooden Cities, titled The Price of Oil. The Price of Oil was originally written by the American composer Frederic Rzewski in 1980 and was inspired by a contemporary disaster in which the “Alexander Kielland,” a floating platform used to house oil-drilling workers in the North Sea, capsized, killing 139 people. The Price of Oil consists of an interplay between two characters, an oil dealer in the Rotterdam spot market and a worker/survivor of the disaster. The two characters never meet, but both, in the composer’s words, “make up complementary parts of a superstructure which governs their individual behavior, and whose functioning in turn depends upon their active presence. Both [are] caught in a tragic design over which they have no control, manifesting itself on the one side as greed, and on the other as need.”

The video animation was made through various stop motion techniques and programming in video editing software. As an archival art practice, this experimentation involved more than a three-month period process of research, curating and reworking more than 8 thousand archival images/stills, all of which have been animated in response to the music piece. Images have been taken from old newspapers, magazines; some are stills from movies or gathered from the internet.