In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions

An ongoing research-based art project (2016-).
Exhibited at ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre & Cinema Salaam, Baku, Azerbaijan. 2016. Solo

The project is an ongoing exploration of the thematics of Azerbaijans first feature film ‘In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions’ (1916) and its web of geopolitical and transnational relations stretching between Azerbaijan, the former Soviet Union and its republics, Sweden’s Petroleum Production Company Nobel Brothers and Europe’s international cinema. ‘In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions’ was produced by the Belgian Pirone brothers with the financial support from the oil magnates of Baku and showed both the everyday life of the Baku millionaires as well as that of the workers in the oilfields. It disappeared in 1920 after the Bolshevik occupation of Azerbaijan.

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions I

oli and millions mindmap

Workshop mindmap

 

oli and millions mindmap

Workshop discussion

 

oli and millions mindmap

Still from the video In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions II

 

oli and millions mindmap

Still from interview with film historian Aydın Kazımzadə, in the video In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions II

 

oli and millions mindmap

Still from interview with Dr. Mammadova Gulzar Ibrahim gizi, in the video In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions III

 

oli and millions mindmap

Still from the video In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions II. Found photograph

 

The starting point of the project was a four day workshop with young art and film students from Baku. The aim was to get an understanding of how “In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions” related to contemporary issues and concepts in and outside of Baku. Through stories and discussions our personal relationships to oil and millions as well as the broader geopolitical impact these concepts have on everyday life were explored. In the video: Leyla Atayeva, Günel Gafarova, Fidan Gadirova, Ilaha Nurullayeva, Ulviyya Ahmedova, Nazrin Nasimi, Reyhan Mammadova, Ilaha Garibova, Ilaha Heybatova, Leyla Guliyeva, Shahin Guliyev, Afag Yusifli. October 2016

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions II

An investigation into Azerbaijans first feature film ‘In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions’ (1916), which vanished during the Bolshevik occupation in 1920. The video includes an interview with film historian Aydın Kazımzadə and shots of sites relating to the movie. November 2016

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions III

Interview with Dr. Mammadova Gulzar Ibrahim gizi who wrote a biography about the Azerbaijani writer Ibrahim Bey Musabeyov, author of 'In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions' (1915). December 2016

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions (exhibition)

oli and millions mindmap

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions I. Exhibition view with video, oil barrels and oil barrel lids. ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku. November 2016

 

oli and millions mindmap

In the Kingdom of Oil and Millions I. Video. ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku. November 2016

 

oli and millions mindmap

Black Gold I & II (Baku). Oil barrel, gold leaf and oil. ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku. November 2016

 

oli and millions mindmap

Black Gold I & II (Baku). Oil barrel, gold leaf and oil. ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku. November 2016

 

oli and millions mindmap

Black Gold III (Baku). Oil barrel lids. ARTIM project space, Yarat Contemporary Art Centre, Baku. November 2016

Black Gold I (Baku) and Black Gold II (Baku) consist of an oil barrel with 2,5 liters of crude oil at the bottom and its upper edge covered with gold leaf, creating a circle of gold. When viewers look into the oil barrel I imagine it will feel like looking into a dark well. Black Gold is inspired by the significant role of oil in modern economy and geopolitical control as well as by one of Friedrich Nietzsche's quotes. "And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." ('Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future', 1886).

 

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