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Peak Whale Oil is an exhibition of work by Chantelle Mitchell, Jaxon Waterhouse, Grace Connors, Jack Wansbrough and Nadège Philippe-Janon, investigating the history of Australian whaling through a contemporary petrocultural lens. PWO was presented in a Tasmanian context, hosted by Sawtooth ARI, and at Cool Change to present new figurations of work in responsiveness to the West Australian whaling and extraction histories and industries. 

Through installation, sound, video and scent, Peak Whale Oil posited a synchronicity between geologic and marine resource extraction. Working from a historical locatedness toward speculative future, Peak Whale Oil draws terrestrial and aquatic equivalences between peaks of petroleum and the continual unfurling of ‘peak oil’ discourse, as read diffractively through the past pursuit and persecution of cetacean bodies.

PWO was the result of over two years of collaborative research and writing between the artists involved, starting with readings of Moby Dick and other whale related mythologies and histories.

This exhibition was supported by The Department of Local Government Sports and Cultural Industries.

All images courtesy of Jack Ball and Zara Sully

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