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Oil Culture$
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Ross Barrett and Daniel Worden

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816689682

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816689682.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 21 May 2022

Mixing Oil and Water

Mixing Oil and Water

Naturalizing Offshore Oil Platforms in American Aquariums

(p.267) 14 Mixing Oil and Water
Oil Culture

Dolly Jørgensen

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter focuses on the exhibition as an important vehicle for the dissemination of official booster arguments about oil and for the articulation of more complicated perspectives on oil capitalism. In particular, it examines the strategies employed by contemporary Gulf Coast aquarium displays to refigure deepwater petroleum extraction as an ecologically beneficial activity. The chapter first considers aquariums as places of learning before discussing the public presentation of the offshore ecosystem in relation to Rigs-to-Reefs programs, which allow the conversion of offshore oil platforms into artificial reefs after they are decommissioned from active use. It then considers aquarium exhibits of Gulf of Mexico tanks highlighting the contribution of the oil industry to the Gulf’s ecosystem, along with an exhibit in California, and places these displays within the specific social and political context of the Rigs-to-Reefs program. It shows why aquariums developed hybrid schemes that mixed oil and water to represent marine life in the region.

Keywords:   exhibition, oil capitalism, Gulf Coast, aquariums, offshore ecosystem, Rigs-to-Reefs program, offshore oil platforms, artificial reefs, oil industry

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