Eline McGeorge With the Free Rider into the oil age and beyond
The book contains a transcription of a video montage work of the artist with the same title and maps the video’s references in a narrative text in both Norwegian and English. The Norwegian version is in the front and the English version in the back. The middle of the book consists of a drawn sequence from the animation process for
The rewriting of some of the plot in the Norwegian science fiction television series Blindpassasjer (1978) is essential in the project. The plot in Blindpassasjer, which means Stowaway and is referred to in these works as the Free Rider, is simple: After a completed research project on an unknown planet, a Norwegian starship returns to
headquarters. While the ship accelerates beyond the speed of light, and the crew lies dormant, the silhouette of a figure appears on the surveillance monitors. The figure is known as the “biomat”. It is an artificial human made from a cloud of
programmable molecules, which entered the starship from the unknown planet. Its mission is to protect the planet’s ecological balance. Both the starship and the headquarters are considered a potential treat.
The plot from Blindpassasjer is rewritten into a timeline that takes as a starting point the construction of the High-rise governmental building in Oslo (constructed in the 50s and damaged in the 2011 bombing) and the social democratic ideas coded into its architecture. The High-rise building plays the role of the headquarters in the rewritten Blindpassasjer plot. The video and the artist’s book text follow some of the principles that laid the foundation of the Norwegian social democratic model, the organization of Statoil and the distribution of the oil wealth. The Blindpassasjer film represents some of the questions that came up at the start of the oil age in 1978 when the oil industry grew and started to change the society. The timeline continues up to today’s version of Statoil as a multinational corporation and further into a paradoxical future still haunted by the “biomat’.
The project investigates paradoxes within the social democratic ‘normality’. The drawn sequence in the middle of the book plays on the formation for the “biomat”. The Book was produced for the exhibition “We are living on a star” at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (HOK), Norway, 2014