Hilde & Bård Tørdal | 2015 | H250 x W230 x L6500mm | Aluminum, stainless steel, 3D-printed PLA/PHA, rust
The world was a different place five generations ago, lit by candles, heated by coal and firewood, driven by sail and steam.
It’s just 150 years since the big Pennsylvania oil rush carved out the beginning of a new era. Petroleum would change everything and set a new pace for the human race. Homes were now lit by kerosene, streets by gas lamps and we could work longer days, read books and study late into the nights. The speed in which life was lived was dramatically changed. The combustion engine was perfected, and the unwanted kerosene byproduct petrol suddenly became the most important resource. The automobile could transport us fast and comfortable. Ships no longer needed to take the wind direction into account, and the aeroplane showed us that the sky no longer was the limit. Oil became a driving force of the economy of nations. Armies became dependent on oil in wars that required more and more resources transported – fuel for the Thunderbolts and Blitzkriegs of the new world.
The human race has since its dawn been on a journey into the unknown, but the speed in which we have traveled has been slow, allowing us to adjust our direction or stop before disaster. At this point in time we have accelerated progress dramatically and the potential for disaster has risen exponentially. What happens when the resources deposited some 150 million years ago are depleted? What happens if we cannot slow down before our oil reserves are gone?
Dino is a sculpture discussing growth and of the problems involved in stopping and changing direction. This overgrown truck seems to have been designed only by economic motives: with the goal of transporting the largest amount of oil possible. Somewhere in the design process the idea of changing direction and the possibility to stop the truck with relative safety has been abandoned, and the truck is on a one-way journey without any hope of turning back.
CONCEPT AND RESEARCH
Dinosaurs are intrinsically connected to the sculpture, by name and shared storyline. They were very large creatures depending on consuming enormous amounts of food, and ultimately they could not cope with a sudden change in the environment which deprived them of the food that was their energy source. Petroleum is fossilized organic materials, such as plankton, algae, plants and animals; some of which were dinosaurs.
The word Dinosaur was coined by paleontologist Sir Richard Owen. Derived from Greek: “deinos” which means “terrible”, “potent”, “fearfully great”, and “saurus” which means “lizzard” or “reptile”. For our part, the sculpture speaks of the the danger of a world economy driven by a single source of energy, so the name Dino seemed proper.
During our research we revisited Steven Spielberg’s thriller “Duel” from 1971, a movie based on Richard Matheson’s short story originally published in Playboy magazine. The movie features a rusted 1955 Peterbilt 281 crude oil transporter which terrorizes the main character of the movie on the roads of the Californian desert. Our Dino is not a 281, but we removed one of the smoke stacks from our Peterbilt 359, 3D-printed two old school round headlights and a swamp cooler at the rear of the cab. We also added the license plates from the movie as a direct reference. The movie has nothing to do with the concept of the sculpture, but we like to add an “easter egg” in our work from time to time, and this time we decided to give a small hommage to Spielberg.
The oil tank is a standard aluminum pipe. It was important for us that the tank should float with almost no support and feel impossibly long. Our original idea was to curve the tank slightly to compensate for any sagging in the middle part of the tank, but the choice of aluminum made this unnecessary.
Aluminum and plastic does not rust so we used specialized paint to get the finish we wanted. A paint with high iron content was sprayed onto an acid base coat. An aggressive chloride solution was sprayed over the iron paint which rusted in only a few hours. Final finish is three coats of a dead matt clear paint which seals the rust in, and stops the process.
Doing research for building your own Duel truck? We have seen a few projects unfolding online and since the truck still is a popular project for the scale enthusiasts we’ve made available for download our 1:14 scale 3D-models of the headlights and swamp cooler for the cab. In addition we have put together a pdf with vectorized versions of the license plates for the truck and the April ’71 Playboy issue for the dashboard including the 71′ centerfold for the rear cab wall (the april issue was the one with Mathesons’ short story). We couldn’t resist to add a 1979 Playboy issue with Burt Reynolds on the cover – Smokey & the Bandit a natural second homage for a trucker sculpture.