“Sweet Crude,” (2010) is a “a multi-channel video installation that visually interprets the quantity of flow from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill with light and movement. The center of the installation is a projection of a live feed from the oil leak itself, flanked by two other projections of a beam of light moving slowly upward to fill the space, representing the volume of oil released by the spill in real-time. When the side projections reach the ceiling, they empty and begin the process again. This helps to visualize the scope of the BP Gulf oil spill disaster and the sheer amount of pollution caused by the event, represented by the constantly refilling “containers” of released oil.
The effectiveness of the piece lies less in its environmental message, but rather in its expression of that message without resorting to browbeating or oversimplification of a tragic event. By taking a straightforward approach rather than an aggressive or satirical one, the viewer can arrive at their own conclusions regarding the impact of the piece and the event it seeks to illuminate, both figuratively and literally.