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Kristina Õllek: Nautilus New Era

HD video, sound, 11’38’’
Courtesy of the artist and Estonian Art Museum

Nautilus New Era draws from Nantes-born writer Jules Verne’s fiction “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” (1870) and juxtaposes it with the current problems of deep sea mining. In Verne’s story Captain Nemo confirms to Prof. Aronnax that there was valuable metals at the bottom of the sea and that mining them was certainly feasible. Today this has become a real scenario, as rare-earth minerals have become essential for the increasing demand for high-tech applications and renewable energy technologies. Deep sea mining promises to deliver the minerals we need to power our green energy future, but at the expense of the fragile organisms and seafloor, with the enormous and inevitable environmental risk. The work was initially shown at the group show “Ascending from the Liquid Horizon”, curated by Kati Ilves, at Le Lieu Unique, Nantes, 20.10.18–06.01.19, and it was commissioned by Estonian Art Museum and Le Lieu Unique.

NB! Nautilus New Era video has 60 HZ binaural sound, the work’s soundscape is best experienced via headphones.


Kristina Õllek (b. 1989) is a visual artist based in Tallinn, Estonia. She works with photography, video, and installation, focusing on representational processes, geological and ecological matter, and the human-made environment. Her work is often site-sensitive and analyses the location and the format of exhibition-making, questioning the display and the politics of installation in the perspective of a historical museum to an online space. Õllek has obtained a MA and BA degree from the Estonian Academy of Arts (Fine Arts, Photography), has studied at Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam (2016), and Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (2012). She has been laureate of the Estonian Academy of Arts – Young Artist Prize 2013 (BA) and 2016 (MA). In 2019 she received the Art Proof Production Grant.