About “Lessons of Excess”
The purpose of this exhibition is to ask the question “How do individuals start to think about the context in which they exist in the modern world?” Since the industrial revolution, nations have been completely transformed due to the rise of capitalism, modern business, corporate strategy, and technological innovation. We now exist in a time when human manifestation seems almost infinite and beyond the grasp of the imagination. We also live in a time of over-stimulation where people are bombarded by abstract information, which leads to apathy and carelessness. My objective is to sift through statistics and abstract information to give a clear picture of the context in which we exist.
Of all the industries that have helped shape the modern world the Oil industry is the largest and most pervasive. Oil makes possible where we live, how we live, how we commute, how we travel. It is truly the lifeblood of modern communities. Oil (and natural gas) are the essential components in the fertilizers on which world agriculture depends. Oil makes it possible to fuel the machines that move us about through air, land and sea. Oil also provides the plastics and chemicals that are the bricks and mortar of contemporary civilization.
For most of the 20th century, growing reliance on oil was almost universally celebrated as a sign of human progress. But no longer. With the rise of the environmental movement, the basic tenants of the industrial society are being challenge, and the oil industry in all its dimensions is at the top of the list to be scrutinized, criticized, and opposed. Efforts are mounting around the globe to curtail the combustion of fossil fuels, oil, coal, and natural gas, because of the resultant smog and air pollution, acid rain, ozone depletion, and climate change. Oil, which is so central a feature of the world as we know it is now accused of fueling environmental degradation, especially now in the wake of the BP Gulf oil disaster. However, peoples of developing countries give no indication that they want to deny themselves the benefits of an oil-powered society, and any notion of scaling back the world's consumption of oil is being curtailed by the extraordinary population growth ahead. The 20th century rightly deserves the title “the century of oil,” but what lies ahead of us in the 21st, time will tell.