Oil fountain

A potent column of oil in the High North: A fountain ejaculating oil from the top of the world, from the North Pole point, letting it run down the earth – to celebrate 20 years of political focus on the Hight North, 40 years of Norwegian oil adventure, and possibly the last breath of modern civilization as the world drowns in a pool of CO2.


Fountains (Latin: “Fons” or “fontis”, source) were originally purely functional, providing drinking water to the residents of villages. By the end of the 19th century, as indoor plumbing became the main source of drinking water, the urban fountain was no longer needed, at least in the Western world. But the fountain did not disappear, it changed its function. From being a necessity of life, it became a question of aesthetics.

Grandiose and lavish fountains have for centuries been closely associated with political and economic power – from Louis 14 and his fantastic gardens of Versailles, to what is today the largest fountain of the world: King Fahd´s Fountain in Jeddah in Saudi-Arabia, shooting water 260 meters up in the air above the Red Sea.


In Norway, water did not only give us life in a purely physiological sense. Water – in the form of cheap renewable energy – built Norway as an industrial nation. But today, it is not water that is the most striking symbol of Norwegian wealth, it is oil. In 2010, about 25 % of the Norwegian government revenue came directly from producing oil and gas. Oil and gas is the driving force in the Norwegian High North strategy, in the Barents Cooperation and in the present day relationship to Russia. Economic resources beyond imagination are expected to be located below sea level in the north. We are constantly told what a marvel of engineering it would be to get these resources to the surface and exchange them for cash – and CO2. We are the high tech spearhead of human exploitation of the world, we tame the forces of nature and bring energy and prosperity to the world. Oil is our life-giving force.

Idea, concept and design: Amund Sjølie Sveen
Technical design: Dimitry Zhambrovskiy, Artem Yastrebov, Dimitry Malikov (Murmansk, RU)
Planned production: A Paulsen & Sønner AS, Årbostad
Produced by Amund Sjølie Sveen and Pikene på Broen



An oil fountain planned for the Barents Spektakel festival in Kirkenes (NO) 2013. Produced in close collaboration with Pikene på Broen. Due to technical and economic challenges, the fountain has not yet materialized into the real world.