Crude Data

The installation Crude Data translates the virtual real time value of one barrel of crude oil (Brent) in USD as traded in the International Commodity Exchange Future Market in London into an electromechanical 7-segment display. The Internet of Things-Machine contrasts the difference of the raw (crude) material and the abstracted derivatives, acting as an encoder of the pulse of the global economic machine.

Crude Oil is unarguably a driving force of our civilization. Its whereabout’s and its price determine war and peace, wealth and poverty. Oil is not only the fuel of the world economy but also foundation of an enormous amount of industrial products. But unlike it’s derivates, consumers never get to perceive crude oil in its natural, aesthetical, raw form. It exists in the virtual, in the most artificial abstracted and rational way, as data, traded by machines.

The barrel as a trading size is of today only a historic leftover, due to the unimaginable tradingvolumes of millions of liters a day. Similarly, the Brent sort only exists as a historical reference on the stock market. While the oil field in the British North Sea with it’s four production platforms was of immense economic and geopolitical importance for an independent Europa in the 1970s, today’s oil production in the region is expensive and environmentally problematic. The contrast of temporality is just as astounding: Within billions of years, organisms have emerged under high pressure, burned and processed within decades, and traded in milliseconds.

A kinetic light installation, originally built to show car and truck drivers the current petrol prices from a far distance, is now decontextualized as an absurd machine. It is driven by the pulse of global data-driven commodity-trading and transformed into rhythmic movement. The price if one barrel of crude oil, an unimaginable yet geopolitically significant value can be experienced aesthetically.