Who Owns the Arctic

Owen Wells (UK)

The Arctic is home to the world’s largest untapped gas reserves: 13% of the world’s remaining oil, and vast mineral deposits. These commodities, compounded by the effects of climate change, have opened up the Arctic to corporate profiteering and the potential geopolitical tension caused by unresolved sovereignty claims.

Who Owns The Arctic is a series of texts, images, maps and pieces of bespoke equipment that present speculative conspiracy stories, created to identify and expose political and corporate profiteering in the Arctic.

Through a thorough examination of the weaknesses of systems, conspiracy can be viewed as a form of critique—a deceitful narration of legitimate practices. With the help of several members of the artist’s own family, who offered specific expertise, he has conspired to create four subversive financial enterprises for the Arctic. Sitting somewhere between criminality, deceit and disruption, each enterprise seeks to exploit the unique infrastructure, ecology, potential for dispute, and legal ambiguity of the region to provide devious financial rewards.

About the artist: 

Owen Wells’ projects place objects as central figures within speculative narratives, viewing design as a means to explore, experiment, and define larger systems.

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