Working group 3

The transitionings out of the oil age workshop is devoted to the drafting
of a graphic novel exploring a creative narrative which invites us to
imagine a post-oil future.

Workshop leader: Ulrike Payerhofer (AT), Olaf Osten (AT)
Participants: Amanda Boetzkes (CA), Kinga Kielczynska (PL), Holger Ott (AT), Cleo Reece (CA), Johannes Schmidt (AT), Janet Stewart (GB)

Working group 3 developed a graphic novel with the artist Olaf Osten under the title transitionings out of the oil age, which will be part of the publication of the project in 2024. The participants began developing their characters in the online preparatory meetings before the workshop. Furthermore, the graphic novel was divided into a timeline of five decades.

On the first day of the workshop, Olaf Osten presented a horizontal structure for the five pages, which enabled the design of individual scenes and the compilation of the storyboard within the group. Afterwards, the participants presented their chosen characters with detailed descriptions of character traits, possible modes of action, and form or appearance. The six protagonists – an oak tree, a plastic cup, a virus, a mythological trickster figure named WhiskeyJack, the eight-year-old girl Teresa, and the oxygen molecule – formed an extraordinary community full of contradictions and hope in the sequence of the storyboard. In the collaborative creative process, participants had to navigate between opposing poles such as clarity and speculation, reality and abstraction, dystopia and solution on both a formal and content level. A critical discussion within the process related, among other things, to how much presence the substance crude oil should have in the graphic novel and in what form it should be represented.

The second day focused on developing a narrative that combined both speculative and rational elements and allowed for character development – fed by the diverse expertise of the participants. The challenging task of the artist Olaf Osten was to capture the manifold and partly contradictory considerations in image sections and to translate them into an appropriate graphic form.

While the workshop was not accessible to the general public, the colloquium results will be published in book form in 2023.

colloquium I University of Applied Arts Vienna I transition I crude oil I graphic novel I storyboard I interdisciplinary I collective I character I decade I oak tree I plastic cup I virus I WhiskeyJack I girl I oxygen molecule