Future Issue: The Oxford American collaboration

"The Island." Text by Sari Wilson, art by Josh Neufeld

Josh and I have a new collaboration in the current issue of The Oxford American. The Oxford American is an excellent literary magazine and this issue is really fascinating.

The concept: Life in 2050. Close enough to our lives to be able to do what fiction can do so well—be prescient, be absurd, be invasive. As Marshall McLuhan said, “Art at its most significant is a distant early warning system that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen.”

Our one-page comic deals with the question “What happens to decommissioned oil rigs?Of course, it was on our minds. DeepWater Horizon, etc. Well, it seems, we stumbled onto a good question. No one really knows! But there are plenty of ideas. Given that it can be damaging and costly to actually remove these rigs, ideas abound.

“Around 4,000 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico will be decommissioned within the next century. Given that an average deck on one of these rigs is about 20,000 square feet, that’s potentially 80 million square feet of usable space just off the coast of the United States,” reports Business Week. The most popular ideas include a resort/convention center, artificial reefs, wind farms. Riffing on that, we came up with an eco-farm and casino.

But, and here’s where we really let our minds go to the  fantastical: Who—or what—will be inhabiting them?

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