Mobile Life Support Unit - Model A

Mobile Life Support Unit - Model A Mobile Life Support Unit - Detail

It is the year then, now, tomorrow and you feel like going for a Sunday drive. As you approach the carport you unhook from the “Domestic Life Support Unit,” and hurry to your “Mobile Life Support Unit –Model A.” The unit has been warming up on its own so that the life giving oil will be at the perfect temperature for ingesting. You climb into the helm and plug-in.

Nothing like a Sunday drive with not a care in the world.

Mobile Life Support Unit - User

Most reliable sources say that we will have sucked the earth dry of our most coveted and deeply relied upon substance with in the next 25 years – OIL. Over the past 75 years our global society has become totally immersed in black gold. Building nations and fueling the insatiable thrust of capitalistic growth, oil has come to - in many ways - define our lives.

The Mobile Life Support Unit –Model A is a pedal-powered, petroleum pumping, life-support unit. The motive of this work is to induce contemplation about current trends in fossil fuel consumption. The driver climbs into the seat, puts his/her feet on the peddles, straps the mouth piece to the head and mouth, snuggles into the cranial warmer, and begins to travel wherever they may need to go – all the while – crude is being pumped into their mouth. As Ryszard Kapuscinski poetically states, “Oil creates the illusion of a completely changed life, life without work, life for free…. The concept of oil expresses perfectly the eternal human dream of wealth achieved through lucky accident…. In this sense, oil is a fairy tale and like every fairy tale a bit of a lie ( Ryszard Kapuscinski, Shah of Shahs (New York: Harcourt, 1983), 34-35). Oil is transformed from a burnable fuel to a mythical substance by the effect it has had on a century of civilization. No longer can we distinguish between what the oil is and what technology and man have made it into. Power. Power to drive our cars, power for those who have it to have power over those that don’t. The Model A is a machine that reveals our contemporary dependence on oil by employing the creation of irony and myth. The potent irony of this machine is that its existence is made possible by petroleum and its diverse offspring. This is manifested in three ways: 1) The Model A is a vehicle – cars are powered by petroleum and we are empowered by our cars. 2) The Model A is made using technology and the detritus from a generation of oil powered industrial production. 3) The Model A is a life support unit – after years of ingesting petroleum by-products (petro-ammonia based fertilizers, medical rubbers, and microwavable plastics) people have become physically dependent on oil for survival. We need the oil in our blood to continue living. The last of these three points also addresses the mythology of the Model A. Obviously the scenario expressed is far-fetched, but it is the absurd way that I have been thinking while creating the Model A.

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