Having not been able to even establish contact with three oil refineries in the UK in regards to a visit, visiting one abroad seemed like an option. As I was studying metamorphic rock, I looked up an area in an European country (due to affordability) in which I could visit both a metamorphic rock site and an oil refinery. The intention was and has always been to simply just be inside one, looking, listening, smelling the refinery and see for myself the transformation of crude, the different processes taking place and be surrounded by this impressive industrial landscape and absorbe its geometries and phenomenologies. This desire stemmed from wanting to get hold of crude, to be able to study and experiment with the material, and from researching what happens to crude.
I also checked the refinery at night time and I was chased by dogs. In my van, I was able to verify that the 6 gates of the refinery had armed security in vast amounts, and security dogs within the fenced perimetered of the complex as well as outside.
The natural beauty of the place, its isolation, in contrast with such epic engineering structures, made me think of situationist thinking and Man as an agent. Simultaneously, as I was really close to the sea and a tempest was emerging, the naturual agency of the thuding and crashing waves in contrast with the stench of petroleum in the air (especially at night time) gave me an experience of extremes in one place.
This visit also gave me access to other information. Since there was a tanker (loading or unloading it wasn't clear) on the port, I tried to investigate the history of this vessel, named Aldebarran. I ended up monitoring its movements on the maritime traffic website for over a month. Hoisting a flag from the Bahamas, this vessel circulates between ports and refineries within the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and the Mediterranean sea, right through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits. It supplies Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania that I have monitored.
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