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Hope Lake

Robyn Moody

Vårens første utstilling er “Hope Lake” av den kanadiske kunstneren Robyn Moody. Han skriver dette om arbeidet:

In Alberta, Canada, a significant amount of the earth is saturated in oil.  The difficulty of separating the oil from the sand was one that had troubled and obsessed people for years. In the 1950s, the American geologist, Manley Natland devised a plan to use underground nuclear explosions to separate the two.  The heat and pressure from the explosions would liquefy the oil, separating it from the sand, and the resulting underground crater would be an ideal vessel for the now liquid oil to be pumped to the surface.  Little concern was expressed for the people or the land that would be affected.  Only when it was discovered that the radiation could not be contained was the plan abandoned.

This is the first in a series based on water sources from within the oilsands.  The profile of Hope Lake was chosen not because of any environmental impact that has befallen it (yet), but for its name.  Hope for power (in both senses of the word), and hope as something that is vulnerable, and can be destroyed.

Hope Lake as seen through the eyes of Manley Natland is a scale model of the lake.  The surface is made up of hundreds of spinning gears of different sizes.  Fixed to each gear is a tilted mirror, which occasionally reflects light from overhead. As this is so fleeting, it is seen as a flash of light. The effect is a fairly accurate depiction of sunlight reflecting off the surface of water. The rumbling sound created by hundreds of spinning gears is reminiscent of the sound of rushing water.

Most of us will be familiar with a scene often used in cartoons in which a character, driven by hunger and madness, sees a fellow character transform into what they desire, such as a roast chicken, and a silly chase scene ensues.  Manley Natland, his colleagues, and many others of the time saw the world of Alberta not for the natural beauty of its lakes and land, but merely as a resource to be exploited, and the consequences of their actions well out of mind.  For a significant part of the population, this perception is still the case.

Though referencing the oilsands, this piece is more about the madness and denial of reason that comes about through a single-minded quest.  The behaviour of those who rush to develop the oilsands as quickly as possible and the vitriol publicly directed at those who express concerns over the wisdom of this manic behaviour betray a madness, akin to a cartoon character chasing an imaginary roast chicken.

Spring's first exhibition is "Hope Lake" by Canadian artist Robyn Moody. He writes this about the work (see above).