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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.
This film traces the (nearly invisible) buried oil pipeline infrastructure between its source in the tar sands of Canada's boreal forest to a landscape of US refineries in the Midwest. An aerial perspective continues to scan the prairies and rivers for signs of the further distribution of the toxic particulate refinery by-product: petroleum coke or 'petcoke' as it is known in the industry. After hovering above the corporate headquarters of Koch Industries, Inc., the largest dealer of petcoke in the US, the film concludes along the Pacific coast, at the port of Long Beach / Los Angeles, where petcoke is loaded onto tanker ships to be sent to markets in China where it is burned in power plants and converted into toxic plumes of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide. Following the northern jet stream, these pollutants return to North America and the feedback loop of climate change continues to spin out of control.
Midstream at Twilight represents an industry in decline and acts as a curse against the fossil fuel industry.
What began in the 17th century will end in the 21st.
Premiered in August 2016 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.
the midstream sector of the petroleum industry, involving the transportation (by pipeline, rail, barge, oil tanker or truck), storage, and wholesale marketing of crude or refined petroleum products.
a period or state of obscurity, ambiguity, or gradual decline.
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.