S*OIL is a human-powered interactive installation focusing on the industrialization of agriculture, biofuels and topsoil erosion. Mechanical and electronic systems are combined with living systems using experimental perennial food crops, video, and an electronically controlled irrigation system. A mechanism in the likeness of a railway handcar that uses bicycle parts as a chain drive was built as the central object of interaction in the installation. These mechanisms were chosen for their historical and nostalgic references, linking industrial and natural processes while contrasting them with human consumption and expenditure. Participants operate the handcar to activate the installation by generating the electricity needed to power the pump and irrigation system, and videos. S*OIL is the largest work in the series The Handcar Projects. For images of the other works in the series please visit the website http://www.treiastudios.net/ For videos visit the vimeo site http://vimeo.com/mariamichails/videos
This project has been made possible with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center.
Assistance with the project by Eyebeam Interns Alessandro Contini, Gabriella Levine and Danila Pellicani.