Only when we have understood what we have been dealing with for 150 years in our engines, laboratories, bodies and dreams, can we free ourselves from this magical and fatal substance. The creation of petroleum takes ages, but its use knows only the moment: whether as fuel or plastic bag, as lipstick or balloon. Oil is omnipresent and yet invisible. It is a prehistoric natural substance and hypermodern plastic. It is a warmonger, a bringer of prosperity and even food. This richly illustrated atlas invites you to take a walk through geography, industry and historical processes and unearths amazing stories in practices, forms of knowledge and visual worlds: from the first oil tanker „Zoroaster“ from 1878, which today is located in the foundation of an oil rig in the Caspian Sea, from fossil plankton, which almost decorated the latest Norwegian banknotes, from the impoverished Austrian nobleman who sought his fortune in Argentina as an oil worker and became a character in a novel, from „Science-fashioned Molecules“ as the heroes of US industrial films. After all, crude oil is much more than the sum of its molecules.
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Alexander Klose, born in 1969, develops projects on the borderlines between science, art and society and researches modern infrastructures and the logistical reorganization of the world. Benjamin Steininger, born in 1974, is a cultural and media scientist and curator, and a science historian at the Max Planck Institute.
"Whether the oil age ends in 20 or 200 years is not so important to Klose and Steininger. It has already happened, they say in their eye-opening book: oil has permeated everything." Bayerischer Rundfunk