Installation, 2013

Matt Kenyon (US)

What goes up must come down. These words describe not so much a scientific truth, but rather a common generalisation. This notion can be applied to a variety of things—from a ball thrown into the air to a stock market, which cannot continue to rise forever. All good things must come to an end. Right? The perceptual structures of the human brain enable individuals to see the world around them as stable, even though the sensory information may be incomplete and rapidly varying. Some of these perceptual structures are highly susceptible to manipulation. Seeing is not believing. Especially when the refresh rate of our reality hides the truth about our macabre fossil fuel faith. All around us people simultaneously hope and fear that our material abundance may never come to an end.

In the gallery a wire rack of vintage oilcans sits. One has a visible fissure out of which oil slowly flows, cascading onto the pedestal and the gallery floor. The only thing is, upon close inspection the oil isn’t flowing out of the can. Instead, oil appears to slowly flow, drop-by-drop, back into the can. At times the drops of oil seem to hover unsupported in mid-air. At other times, the drops are in the process of a reverse slow motion splash onto the pedestal.

Artist's Statement

The title for SUPERMAJOR is a term derived from what was named the “Seven Sisters”, the seven oil companies which formed a global cartel and dominated the world supply of oil from 1940s-1970s. When doing research for SUPERMAJOR, I spent a lot of time watching video footage of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The seemingly endless violent evacuation of oil into the surrounding water is starkly contrasted with the golden honey-like liquid poured out of a fresh can of oil. Because of the unimaginable scale of events like Deepwater Horizon, there is a macabre faith that this fossil fuel abundance may never end. These disasters give us a clear image of the implications of such abundance and waste. I wondered what other forms this faith might take. So I decided to build SUPERMAJOR.