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crude awakening 1 | by john curley
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crude awakening 1

This installation illustrating America's worship of evil oil featured giant flame-shooting sculptures that surrounded a giant oil derrick. It was created by Dan Das Mann, Karen Cusolito, Black Rock FX, Pyrokinetics, Nate Smith, Mark Perez and MonkeyBoy.


Each of the figures weighed an estimated 7 tons, and the tallest was about 30 feet high. They were genuflecting toward the Revered Oil Derrick, a 90-foot tall wooden tower that people could climb. Flames shot out the hands and eyes and mouths of the figures, and the controls were in the hands of Burners. In my mind, the figures would have been great by themselves, and the derrick would have been great by itself. Together, it kind of hit me over the head too hard.


The pyrotechnics were supposed to happen on Friday night, but wind and dust delayed preparations, so the burn was pushed back to Saturday. An air raid siren began to wail in the warm night air, and the nearly full moon was obscured by smoke rising from some kind of vehicle we couldn't see. Then a massive flame shot out of the tower, a blast that the creators said put out 2.4 gigawatts of power. They called it the largest flame cannon ever built, and who can argue with that?

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Taken on August 31, 2007