Witnessing Philadelphia's Oilscape

This exhibit provides a series of tools and techniques for comprehending the scale and scope of Philadelphia’s oil refinery.

As I have come to realize, neither perception, nor intellectual contemplation, is enough to comprehend the primacy and ubiquity of oil. The magnitude of oil’s presence in industrial and postindustrial societies is too great to be sensed with those tools alone. In each of the seven sub-exhibitions comprising “Witnessing Philadelphia’s Oilscape,” I offer one method for what I have coined ‘bearing witness to oil.’ And by this I mean connecting visual, aural, and olfactory experience of the oil industry (pipelines, stills, stacks, oil-trains, etc.) with the complex systems of production, transportation, and consumption that those trappings support. 

Ultimately, this exhibit catalogues my personal revelation to the oilscape, and so the information I present may not be as enlightening for all as it was for me. At the very least, I hope my work inspires others to find their own ways of witnessing some of the hidden complexities that pervade our complicated world. 

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