Six fantastically colored artifacts hover in mid-air and quietly rotate, as if they have been possessed by a mystical force. Though they are replicas of oil drill bits, by being decontextualized, they instead resemble architectural models for grandiose pyramids or the Tower of Babel, at once evoking ancient civilizations and distant futures. Monuments such as these are always manifestations of the power of those who built them, a means of expressing the extravagant wealth that allows for their construction. In our own times, oil has become one of the most lucrative industries owing to its necessity in nearly every aspect of daily life around the globe. OR-BIT reminds us of this fact by transforming oil’s unseen machinery into a monument to the oil industry’s might. But as magical and awe-inspiring as these levitating drill bits may be, their lack of a foundation suggests that the powers behind them are less sturdy than they might initially seem. OR-BIT ultimately strikes a foreboding tone, reminding us of the fragility of power and the inevitability that it will one day fall from grace.
Commissioners: Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten (2016), Jameel Arts Centre (2017), CIRCL pavilion (2018), Stavanger Art Museum (2021).