Oculus: Dead Sea/Oil Field

Performance furnace/kiln tableau, Arvada, CO, 1989.

Left: mid-firing, "Virgin Bathysphere," 30 ft. h. (pole) x 6 ft. dia., steel, high-temp blanket, lava, propane.

Center: twilight tableau of kilns and 40 ft. "oil drill-rig poles," the evening of the firing - poles: steel, cable, tar, salt, shells.

Right: mid-firing "Ancient Bathysphere," 6 ft. dia., unfired brick, steel, salt, propane

Oculus: Dead Sea/Oil Field, was inspired by Oculus: Emerson/Beebe, No. 1 and 2, installed at the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara, CA, earlier in 1989, which referenced the oil drill platforms off of the California Coast. Like Oculus Emerson/Beebe No. 1 and 2, this work references William Beebe's, deep sea diving bathyspheres, and the transcendentalist philoshphy of Emerson. The tableau of kilns and "drill-rig poles," along the small lake at the Arvada Art Center, Arvada, CO, refers to a narrative concerning two "bathyspheres" each in a symbolic quest for the origin of it's life-force, comprised of fossil fuels. The shallow dome of an under sea oil reservoir is marked by materials on each of the drill-rig poles.
Oculus: Dead Sea/Oil Field is the second project in a series titled 51 Million BTU's, that examine the origins and nature of the fuel being used for their activation. 51 Million BTU's also includes Untitled (Earth Orchid), 1988 and Humboldt Ship, 1989. A video 51 Million BTU’s/Metabolism Study/C3H8, e-, NaCl, examines and tranforms the energy expenditure of the three projects. The 51 Million BTU series were progenator's of subsequent projects: Metabolism and Mortality/O2, 1992, Rotting Flame, 1994, and Pitzer Project: A Prototype System for the Production and Distribution of Ancient Sunlight, 1996

Furnace Projects, Constance Lewallan

Artist's Statement/Catalog Essay

Kiln Projects: Material and Process Experiments in/of the Landscape, John Roloff