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A striking example of misappropriated oil is Richard Wilson’s 20:50 installation. This site-specific experiment consists of a room filled with a layer of sump oil contained within an elegant metal shell. The highly reflective quality of oil in the room gives the perception of a mirage-like expansive space larger than its actual physical constraints. Occasionally a cross breeze may blow gently across the surface revealing the hidden viscosity of the mirror. This installation revealed a myriad of possibilities of how oil can be used in a more aesthetic and architectural purpose—reflecting and expanding the perception of the surrounding environment in a similar way Tarkovsky’s long pans evoke strong emotional resonances. In this landscape where oil is presumed to no longer primarily power engines or used in cheap products, it will be integrated with the architecture as a series of lenses motivating a new way to navigate and perceive the surrounding environment and overall urban setting.

20:50 by Richard Wilson

The commodified value of oil will inevitably change if it is misappropriated in new methods on the site. It can act as an alternative currency within the system, a type of jewelry or even conserved for a large-scale explosive event. It can also take on the ironic role of motivating a system to reactivate the productivity of the earth that it previously colonized. Regardless of its new uses, narratives of alternative oil uses will be a main design driver to create new situations and topologies layered over the existing infrastructure.

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Radical Energy Systems  

<2011>Speculations on connecting decentralized energy flows with networked ecologies in the post-oil era. M.Arch AD Thesis Report - Bartlet...

Radical Energy Systems  

<2011>Speculations on connecting decentralized energy flows with networked ecologies in the post-oil era. M.Arch AD Thesis Report - Bartlet...

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