Everyone knows that oil and water don’t mix. But what’s even further removed from oil than water? Perhaps a trading room floor, according to artist Mark Boulos. His installation All That Is Solid Melts Into Air (MoMA from March 19-July 16) explores, not salad as you might be thinking, but the tension between abstract and physical realities. He places footage from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange floor during the first few days of the financial crisis in 2008, beside footage from his time living in Niger, one of the largest oilfields in the world. In a rather terrifying contrast, Boulos shows the reality of Nigerian’s experience of oil, using footage of the guerrilla group MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) in violent battles opposing the exploitation of their environment and demanding alleviation of poverty in the region. Wild tension is created by showing these disparate pieces of footage side by side. This trippy juxtaposition intends to explore the objectification of a natural asset and the mystical quality oil takes on when sold as futures and derivatives. By mystical we don’t mean purple-cone-hatted-wizard sort of mystical but mystical in a WTF-the-West-and-capitalism-and-everything-is-f*&ed sort of way. Looking forward to some real talk of the ocular variety.
MoMA March 19-July 16, 11 West 53rd Street, NY 10019 tel 212-708-9431 Moma.org