Greenpeace has released a new film blasting Shell for its plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.
The film aims to make its point by “setting alight” three classic American landscape paintings; Pearlblossom Highway by David Hockney, Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth and An Arctic Summer: Boring Through the Pack in Melville Bay by William Bradford.
The pictures appear to go up in flames and the images are replaced with unsettling scenes of dystopian decay using parts of the original paintings combined with real-life oil spills and disasters. The 105-second film, “A Song of Oil, Ice and Fire” ends with the copy: “Shell would let the world burn to drill in the Arctic” and asks people to “protect what you love.” It was made by London-based creative agency Don’t Panic in collaboration with activist artists collective KennardPhillips, also from the city. A petition on the associated “Save the Arctic” webpage had almost 7 million signatures at the time of writing.
The film is the latest centerpiece of an ongoing Greenpeace campaign to prevent oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. It follows a recent ruling from the Obama administration giving a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell conditional approval to begin drilling in the Chuchki Sea off the Alaskan coast this summer.
Greenpeace states that it is possible Shell could begin drilling within five weeks. Environmentalists say that the Chuchki Sea should be off-limits to drilling, warning that any spill would be catastrophic and impossible to clean up because of its remoteness and inaccessibility due to frequent storms. Shell is seeking to return to the Arctic after an earlier attempt in 2012 failed when the company’s drilling rig ran aground.