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© 2020 Steve Rowell
Returned to Nature. Gateway Hill, Syncrude Canada Ltd. One of a handful of remediated land projects north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The largest built structures on Earth are the retention dams that form massive, toxic lakes of tailings from tar sands mines. Overlooking this artificial sludgescape are replanted hills such as this, created by heaping piles of overburden from what used to be active mines, where, before the middle of the 20th century, ancient boreal forests stood for millions of years. Production still, March 2016.
When viewed, Midstream at Twilight functions as a form of contextual direct action and as such, invokes a corporate death curse against a fossil fuel industry in decline.
Premiered in August 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
Drone aerial footage combined with ground static and moving photography.
Single channel color video with 4.1 channel audio
Sampled & incidental music:
Henry Purcell, Drum Processional, Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, 1695
performed by Benedict Hoffnung/Stephen Cleobury/King's College Choir, Cambridge, UK
Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind, Title Music from A Clockwork Orange, 1972
based on Henry Purcell, Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, 1695
Aerial dronecam perspective of the Flint Hills Resources MINNCAN oil pipeline as it cuts across the Mississippi River headwaters in northern Minnesota, between the White Earth and Leech Lake Indian Reservations. This pipeline carries upgraded bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta to the Flint Hills Pine Bend Oil Refinery near the Twin Cities, MN. Video still frame, February 2016.
An active Syncrude mine and tailings pond near Mildred Lake, Alberta. Production still, March 2016.
Interactive pipeline display at The Oil Sands Discovery Centre in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Production still, March 2016.