An Amazing Sequence of Fireball Explosions

An incredible sequence of shots of a derrick burning, built as part of an art installation called Crude Awakening. The artistic brainchild of Karen Cusolito and Dan Das Mann, it is an homage to societies reliance on fossil fuels and the downfall it can bring about.

Created for Burning Man 2007, an art festival in Nevada that creates a city and then leaves no trace when they leave a week later, the art installation happened in three acts – creation, destruction and rebirth. They built an oil derrick as the central player with nine foot metallic figures surrounding it in positions of worship.

The different positions of worship represent the different religions around the world, all from countries that use large quantities of fossil fuel. Then came the big explosive denouement.

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Cusolito said, “The piece addresses the end of the oil economy – it will eventually be gone. What happens next? Are you prepared? What will the planet be like after that?” After a musical score that blasted out music meant to depress and sadden, to make people think of oil and blood together, 900 gallons of jet fuel and 2000 gallons of propane were lit. It set off a fireball right through the center of the derrick, burning it to ashes.

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Causalito and Das Mann insist that it was done as greenly as possible, by reclaiming NASA jet fuel and purchasing carbon offsets but a number of people disagreed with the whole premise as a green installation. Using that amount of fuel just didn’t sit right with them.

Whatever the meaning behind it, or whether or not it was a good idea, the images are stunning. The photographer did a fantastic job of capturing the sequence of shots of fire at their most powerful and extreme.

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