CLUI's latest: the nation's petrochemicalscape

Photo: the CLUI Photographic Archive

On April 19, the Center for Land Use Interpretation launched an exhibit entitled "Texas Oil: Landscape of an Industry" at its Los Angeles/Culver City site. Described as an "aerial tour over the nation's petrochemicalscape," the CLUI explains:

A petrochemical system integrates the country through a continental network of facilities and pipelines. This network, assembled over the last hundred years, moves crude, gas, and chemical feedstock, from coast to coast, production areas to processing plants, tank farms to tanker ports, touching every state. It is a circulatory system of the American Land, moving the lifeblood of the economy, in this Petrochemical Age.

Though the complexity, scale, and forms of the industry resemble those of science fiction fantasy, they are real and present.

If the oil industry has a heart, then it is Texas. And Houston is its aorta.

Smudge studio will be at the CLUI in Culver City in June to see the exhibition and do some archival research there, and we'll post a review of the exhibition then.

In the meantime, check out the CLUI's Petro-America Program online. The University of Houston's Blaffer Gallery has a detailed webpage about the program. It includes a podcast featuring an interview with the CLUI's Matt Coolidge about this ambitious project, which has produced many works including:

  • an HD video "landscan" of petroleum refineries and shipping yards,
  • collaborations with students from the University of Houston, and
  • a SIMPARCH designed and built structure that serves as a floating platform on Houston’s interstitial waterways and provides a multifunctional space for creative programming.

Original exhibit details and additional photographs at the Blaffer Gallery

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