Statement #11 | Ernst Logar — Crude Oil Experiments

Performative setting, May 6, 2021, 3–7 pm

Oil drastically changed the world in the twentieth century. This transformation affected all areas of life, from mass mobility and food production to the application of polymers and plastics in consumer articles such as cosmetics and clothes. However, the omnipresence of oil in everyday life has rarely manifested in the imaginary space of the cultural. Only in the twenty-first century—in face of the depletion of crude oil reserves and the already tangible effects of climate change caused by carbon dioxide emissions—does our dependence on oil become more obvious. Ernst Logar is one of the scientists and artists who have made it their task to gain new insights into the widely pervasive yet still quite elusive resource.

In the performance Crude Oil Experiments in cooperation with E.C.O. Institute of Ecology (Klagenfurt), the artist transfers his experiments with crude oil, which were developed and carried out in the framework of his long-term arts-based research project Reflecting Oil in the laboratories of Montanuniversität Leoben, to Kunstraum Lakeside. One focuses on the practical and semantic potentials of emulsification, the process of merging oil and water.

The format of a public—and publicized—experiment provides participants in the performance with insights into the material, geosocial, and symbolic dimensions of oil. In a playful work setting, Logar employs specific artistic means to explore the visual appearance, color, smell, and consistency of this resource. In the end, says the artist, it is about “generating new representations and narratives of oil to facilitate transformations of perceptions and imaginations of a democratic future beyond oil”.

Ernst Logar (b. 1965 in Austria), lives and works in Vienna.


Ernst Logar, Crude Oil Experiments, 2020