Thomas Østbye: The Play of Everyman
- Place Nordnorsk kunstnersenter, Svolvær
This film gives unique insight into Norway’s first climate lawsuit, in which the environmentalist organizations Nature & Youth and Greenpeace sued the Norwegian government for awarding licences to drill for oil in the Barents Sea.
People in Norway have one of the world’s highest levels of trust in the welfare state – there is faith in its ability to protect the people. At the same time, the basis for both our life and nature’s diversity are threatened by global warming. As the world’s seventh-largest exporter of CO2, Norway contributes to this situation. The climate lawsuit raises an important question: Do future generations and nature have any legal protection in Norway?
The environmentalist organisations argued that the government’s decision to allow for oil drilling was in violation of the Norwegian Constitution’s environmental article § 112, which is intended to ensure the right to a viable climate in which we ourselves and future generations can live. Described as ‘the court case of the century’, the lawsuit created much public debate.
With an observing form and argumentation from voices representing both sides of the issue, The Play of Eeveryman forces us to reflect on whether Norway has the responsibility to protect nature and the climate. As viewers, we see a court case that fuses politics with the practice of law. The film footage was recorded solely inside the Borgarting Court of Appeal in 2019 and the Norwegian Supreme Court in 2020.
Thomas A. Østbye works with documentary films and art films that often take the form of filmic reflections on documentaries about critical political issues. Works such as Imagining Emanuel, Out of Norway, Human and 17,000 Islands have won numerous prizes and been presented at large international documentary festivals, for instance at IDFA, CPH:DOX, Hotdocs and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They have also been nominated for the Norwegian prizes Gullruten and Amanda.
The film is on show in our black box throughout the exhibition period.