the rig

4K video on view at  Mareel Feature Space
Shetland Arts, Lerwick, Scotland, May 1–June 30, 2023

The Rig, 2023, 5:37 minutes, 4K video (web version 1080p), courtesy the artist
Veselka visited Shetland in May 2022 and became interested in the decommissioning of the Ninian Northern offshore platform at Dales Voe and the marine life that had grown on the rig during its forty years of operation. Surprised by the amount of life that had lived on the structure, she found a symbol of hope. Visually, petrochemical infrastructure is often used as symbols of human ingenuity, energy demand, climate change, or environmental degradation. But to Veselka, the ecosystem living on the rig was a different type of symbol—one that represents life’s resilience. 

Thinking about the opposing themes of energy, environmental destruction, and resilience, Veselka created this 3D animated video to experimentally represent the many possible functions and metaphors of an oil rig. She eventually hopes to reuse an offshore platform as a public artwork that intentionally creates habitat for pelagic birds and marine life. 

To hear more about the artist's experience in Shetland, please listen to her interview with Chris Bonfiglioli on the Coastal Knowledge Podcast of the Young Academy of Scotland:

More information on the project: X-CHANGE: Artist Residency & Exchange | Shetland Arts