Tap

2016, Taubman College Liberty Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The image of a contemporary kitchen sink spouting forth flames has become synonymous with “Fracking” a method of horizontal drilling into shale formations known as hydraulic fracturing. Across America, residents have experienced a slew of chronic health problems that can be traced back to the contamination of their air, water wells, or surface water resulting from nearby oil and gas fracking.

Tap is comprised of a vintage kitchen sink sunk vertically into a gallery wall. Instead of water, yellow and blue flames pour from the faucet initiating color shifts in an encrusted frame made from fused bits of discarded ceramics. As the flames spill out a faint voice can be heard. The source of the sound can be traced back to the flame—the flame itself is speaking.

Its voice is actually a shifting collection of media coverage and individual stories relating to fracking. Stories range from property owners debating the merits of allowing their land to be mined to truck drivers employed to haul the 2-8 million gallons of water needed to fracture a single well.

The flow of flame and personal narratives set within a thermochromic frame seeks to fuse the complexities of iconic imagery, exploitation, and domestic objects.

See a video of tap here.

Funded by a Research Through Making grant, Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

Project Team: Adam Fure, Matt Kenyon (artist), Olivia Kempf, Jaime Rivera, Ramon Hernandez, Michael Turvin, Shane Darwent