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MFA Fine Art

Johanna Oskarsson

Fossil Fueldalism 

 Fossil Fueldalism is a role-playing game about living in the Capitalocene; the new geological age created by capitalist society running on fossil fuel, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. The game is used to visualize the intangible in futures that becomes possible through the collective act of role-playing. The participants imagine the direct consequences of the exploitation of fossil fuel, labour, and humans in the age of climate violence and neo-liberal politics. What happens within the game when they are sent out to do tasks, where privileges are lost and the weather can never be predicted? 

By using fictional role-play the work tries to find ways of re-thinking doom and predetermined destiny.

In Konsthallen the work was to be presented as an essay film about a gaming session in collaboration with the Role-playing podcast ‘Syndikatet’. 

So, what the fuck happened in March? The world crashed, for the first time since the cold war, capitalism is trembling fighting for survival. The only thing that could bring it to its knees, begging for mercy was the pandemic of corona/COVID-19. 

Carbon emissions and the oil industry has plunged. The constant growth has stopped for a while. My whole thesis feels in the new light of the pandemic dawn, historicized, archived, the time before the global catastrophe hit. 

Within weeks there was no point in presenting my work in its original state; as an essay film about no hope/hope allegories, about the global revolution against capitalism and its masters. The question of ‘chance’ or political Agency given away to throw of the dice. 

As an artist concerned with politics, it is my duty to rethink what I am doing and why, in the midst of the new state of global lockdowns. Reflecting, contemplating, saving my mental health, not keep on producing for production’s sake, production for who? 

We might see hope for another world on the horizon, that a global pandemic would lead to a utopian ecological welfare state. That we shall overcome as one. 

Or at least we can see the meaning of a functioning welfare state for all citizens and how capitalism fails as soon it is put under pressure. 

Or maybe this is how it accelerated; the start of fascism in plain sight within what we call democracy, the start of a neo-feudalism. Saving what can be saved, fuck the poor. 

If  Neo-liberalism and capitalism survive this, it will probably stop for nothing. 

We have to be careful about political rhetoric/rhetorics right now, and what laws and restrictions are still there when this is all over;  if it will be over. 

Is this the new state of the normal? 

Here we can’t be caught in the return of something, as much as we like to believe in old utopias, the retrotopia. Palme-Sverige, call it whatever. It has all faded away to naïve dreams. We have reached the first stages of Dystopia. 

It was never about finding utopia for me, I recall writing in my artist statement to the MFA, It was about preventing dystopia, and here we are. 

The shovelling of Amazonas, the spiking of emissions in Wuhan after reopening, Jeff Bezos going on trillionaire. It is all signs that there is no political will to change what has already been set in motion through the continuation of the market 

We have not gone back to live in the Holocene, this is still Capitalocene. 

It has just mutated, Nature seems to be defying culture more than ever, If you are speaking in the sense of there ever was a psychical separation between the two and not just the man’s right to gain the upper hand through centuries of violence against everything around us. 

 I should have gone for the zombie apocalypse roleplaying game; I was betting on the wrong apocalypse allegory.  

I would end by Thanking Adam & Simon from Syndikatet podcast for the recorded gaming session and the material it produced of the game. Siska, Stina & Sixten for being my test persons for the first session and all the support during the process. 

And all my other family and friends for support during these testing times. Love you all.  

Please feel free to download the game and character sheets and play on the rainy days of summer. All you need is 12 D6 dice and one that works as the climate controller. 

The rules can be found here;  RULES FOR FOSSIL FUELDALISM 

karta (pdf)
fossifuelddalism (pdf)