THE CRASHED VEHICLE
The car – with its monster wheels – drives off the road into the dark tundra late at night. After one kilometer we drive into a pit of mud and water. Hermann and Arsenyi – our two drivers – tries to maneuver out by driving back and forth. Opposite result: The car is stuck deep in the mud. As we stand around following their futile attempts at rescue, a monumental sequence of Northern Lights spread across the dark evening sky. It is peaking directly above our heads. A cathedral of crystaline light, howering above us as a spiritual portal. This is our entry into the tundra: The crashed vehicle and a cathedral of shimmering ghost rays.
As we arrive at the nightclub with the enigmatic name, we are met by black-clad personel with black balaclavas. We are searched for weapons and led inside. The Oil is structured around a central dance-floor, occupied by a group of young women dancing with each other. We find a corner table and order drinks. Soon we realize that the entire club is mostly populated by girls. Only a very few guys. The guards at the entrance are male, but masked. The DJ is a guy. He is pumping out a steady techno beat, overriding all diversity in the mix. As the girls dance, their bodies are lit by a strobe, adding abrupt geometrical patterns to their swaying bodies. Its an electrifying abstraction, rendering their obvious longing into a collective digital vibe. This is the central function of The Oil: A perpetual feed-back loop of contained female desire. The males are sealed off as masked guardians of a ritual, that is never allowed to perform any real meeting; kept in the electrifying loop of signifying, female attraction.
We arrive at the holes by helicopter. Our guest/guide professor Vasily Bogoyavlensky is one of the leading experts in the field. He directs the pilot over two ’objects of interest’, as he calls them. As we arrive at the main crater – way larger than the other objects – we find it 90% filled with grey muddy water. The hole is wild and strange anyway; of alien proportions. There is a scientist camp on the site. We make an interview with Marina Leibmann, head of the expedition and try to film as much as possible. The scientists are trapped by wavering helicopter service and we have agreed to let them use our helicopter for their return to Salekhard. They pack 8-10 persons and a huge load of equipment and luggage. On the way back we land at 3 further sites with objects of interest. A small, very recent hole and another larger crater, estimated to have ’exploded’ in 2010 as the first of these recent occurances of holes, caused by methane-gas explosions. Pools of methane gas embedded inside ice and permafrost are slowly heated up by global warming and at a certain point the methane bursts. Seeing the largest hole you realize what kind of mega explosion this must have been.
The film and performance to be produced from this travel, will be presented at the 3-day event BURST, 16th to 18th of october at Cinemateket USF, as part of Meteor Festival, Bergen 2015. BURST will also contain a talkshow on the climate crisis and a workshop on crisis.