Monday, June 21, 2010

dusk of an empire: Molotov Shrimp Cocktail

Ah, America, land of the Free Enterprise, Capitalism's Crown Jewel.
Recently, while obsessing over online news sites, I came across an article about an enterprising group of people affected by the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico who were trying to entice people to donate relief money by offering actual vials of oil from the coast of Alabama for donations of $25 dollars or more. I was compelled to complete the donation process immediately. You can visit the same website.
Only a few days later, a bubblewrapped package arrived in the mail. Inside, like a medical specimen or an illicit substance, was a tiny gob of crude oil, putting me face to face with something I think we all wish had remained inside the Earth. Absolutely disgusting, yet mysterious and powerful.
When the financial system collapsed in 2008, I reacted through my art by beginning to use chopped money exclusively. Now, almost 2 years later, I have a lot of tiny coin scraps that I've been planning to eventually transform into biological representations. The underwater explosion on April 2oth was the spark that has finally breathed life into this pending project.
As the gushing petroleum continues to prove poisonous, I will begin to focus my artwork on memorializing some of the creatures whose numbers will be falling in the months ahead.
Using money to capture these creatures is fitting, given that they've been destroyed by a profit-driven enterprise.
Without money as our mode of accomplishing things, these little crustaceans could have kept doing their thing for another billion years, but now they're forced to drastically reconsider their behaviors if they'd like to survive.
On a Capitalist Planet, the odds are stacked against the animal world, because it has no taxable income. These creatures are too poor to contribute to the GDP, so who needs 'em? Outta the way, animals, we've got CEO's to pay!
According to Capitalism, wildlife is counterproductive. Filtering out gunk from the bottom of the ocean should be left to Giant Corporations, who have the technology and the investor base to accomplish what lowly shrimp could never profitably provide. In the world of Big Business, free labor is only cost-effective if it comes from slaves, and Nature is not really easy to own.
Eventually, I assume, plantlife will be phased out as newer, more sophisticated machinery becomes capable of converting CarbonDioxide from the atmosphere into Oxygen which we can then purchase to release into an area of the environment of our choosing. Think of the jobs that defoliating the entire planet could provide!
These days, the stocks of shareholders are spiraling in every which direction, but when archaeologists dig us up, they'll never find the Dow Jones Industrial average.
On the plus side, maybe the life we are losing now will decompose under pressure providing cheap energy for a civilization millions of years into the future of the planet, assuming they're advanced enough to invent the wheel.
Maybe we need oil, maybe we don't. But I bet shrimp really wouldn't have cared had we not undergone an industrial revolution.
Now they probably wish we had stuck to farming.
Let's hope at least some survive... the world needs scampi!

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