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City of Zagreb
City Office for Physical Planning, Construction, Communal Affairs and Traffic


Faculty of Architecture
University of Zagreb


City Acupuncture


Oris - House of Architecture




City of Zagreb
City Office for Culture, Education and Sport


Republic of Croatia
Ministry of Culture

Work title: Who Owns The Arctic

Juror's comment
"The plans for these schemes are deliberately imperfect, simplistic, and crude, but serve to hint at the complex, and increasingly taught relationship between the environment, ecology, politics, and business of the Arctic." I really like the idea focused on using irony as a way to call attention of the problems of the region. By designing illegal, some times illegitimate proposals which even damage to the natural environment, we can easily understand the non-sense of some of our current behaviors, guided only by economical interest with no respect for animal, people or environment... which are very similar to these three projects. [EBP] Pre-selected [imo]. These activities allow local communities to use conflict and greed as a resource to be exploited. Irony used to unveil behaviors and actions which may not be so different of the ones used by corporations nowadays. [CRN] Pre-selected
The Arctic is home to the world’s largest untapped gas reserves, 13% of the worlds remaining oil, and vast mineral deposits. These commodities, compounded by the effects of climate change, have exposed the Arctic to corporate profiteering and the potential for geopolitical tension caused by unresolved sovereignty claims. Through a systematic examination of the weaknesses of systems, conspiracy can be viewed as a form of critique - a deceitful narration of “legitimate” practices. My project proposes three illicit, fictional money making schemes specifically designed for the unique environmental and political composition of the region. These schemes enable local communities to compete in the financial environment of the arctic by viewing conflict and greed as another of the regions resources. They encourage the manipulation of mineral speculation, and systems of insurance and finance to support local communities through immoral behaviour. The plans for these schemes are deliberately imperfect, simplistic, and crude, but serve to hint at the complex, and increasingly taught relationship between the environment, ecology, politics, and business of the Arctic. Each location has been specifically chosen due to it’s potential for illicit opportunities. THE MINERAL RUSH The mineral rush is initiated through the poisoning of beluga whales. The Beluga are a sentinel species - their health is studied as indicative of the state arctic environment as a whole. The Belugas are poisoned with lithium by fishermen working in the Barents Sea, south west of Svalbard. The lithium is procured from anti depressant tablets, placed into dissolvable bags, loaded into fish and tossed over board to the whales. A dose of 500g of lithium is fatal for an animal the size of a Beluga. The lithium poisoning would take a few days to take effect, causing seizures, organ failure, and eventually death. The Norwegian Atlantic current will wash the Belugas onto the south west coast of Spitsbergen, where an autopsy would be inevitable. This process is repeated several times, providing authorities on the island with evidence that a lucrative mineral deposit potentially exists in the waters around the archipelago. Under the terms of the Svalbard treaty, the signatory countries retain the right to conduct commercial activities on the archipelago and would have a vested interest if minerals were found on Svalbard. Income could be generated legitimately through the sale of infrastructure, or illegally through insider trading on the stock of mineral exploration companies. THE OIL SPILL Between Canada and Greenland is Baffin Bay, where Icebergs calved from Greenland’s Petermann glacier start their journey into the north Atlantic. Along this journey the icebergs float past the infrastructure needed to find the oil and gas reserves beneath the seabed of Baffin Bay, and the Labrador sea. Icebergs are found and tracked by the Coastguard using Radar. The larger bergs are easily detected, but as they break into smaller pieces they are far harder, if not impossible for radar to find. These smaller pieces, still the size of a ship, are more than capable of damaging infrastructure or causing an oil spill. To increase the number of these smaller bergs a special tool has been developed that uses resonance frequency to break the ice. A number of these devices would need to be attached to the top of the bergs along existing fracture lines created during the calving process. The devices use an autodialer, similar to safe cracking equipment, to cycle through frequencies, until the frequency of the ice is found. This frequency is emitted into the ice through a resonator and the iceberg shakes it self apart. These pieces are intended to evade the coastguard’s radar and damage heavy infrastructure, or cause spills. Money is made through the purchase of put options in the insurance companies or energy companies potentially affected by the spill. THE FISHING DISPUTE In the crab fishing off-season, 15 crabbing vessels sail from Russia into the crab fisheries in the Bering sea with the aim of kidnapping 21 tonnes of king crab (worth $105,000,000). Using special crab pots, the vessels drag their bounty for three days, relocating them in the a section of the Beaufort sea where sovereignty (and fishing rights) is still contested by America and Canada. A press leak is then sent to newspapers in Barrow Alaska and Toktoyaktuk Harbor, Canada describing the whereabouts of the valuable crabs. The resulting scramble for these valuable crabs has the potential to initiate a confrontation between the American and Canadian fishing fleets, similar to the “Cod Wars” between Britain and Iceland. Money could be made through buying put options in crabbing companies.
Work details
Application Number 0000402501
Author Wells, Owen , United Kingdom
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