The film was shot in the Texan desert and it shows huge oil pumps constantly repeating all the same mechanical movement. Beside their meditative sculptural quality in the landscape, it touches on strong social and political issues with its references to exploitation of natural resources. Rosa Barba has always been fascinated by vast and arid landscapes, particularly the desert for its seemingly endless perspective. The point in time of Time as Perspective is unclear and it could be a futuristic vision or a historical document. The drilling pumpjacks run in loops – the symbol for progress and exploitation has been reduced to their mechanical repetitive rhythm. They move but never change, a monotonous labor that invokes consistence. No progression – just movement that becomes monumental. The oil fields with the thousands of pumpjacks are printing invisible repetitive patterns into the earth – or onto the film. Their “writing” remains hidden as it seems to travel to another level. But it makes us also think of the term “Peak Oil” as the point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached.
Time as Perspective, 2012 35mm film, color, optical sound; 12 min Images 1, 2, 3, 4: Film still © Rosa Barba Image 5: Installation view at Kunsthaus Zürich, 2012 © Rosa Barba