“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us,”

Written by Eamon O'Kane
Published 16.12.2019 in 0°C

This work is a three-screen installation or two projection installation that examines carbon in all its forms. The title is a quote from "Walden" by Henry David Thoreau and the work investigates humankind’s relationship to the natural world, entropy and the Anthropocene.

The film involves diagrams of the molecular make up of carbon as well as images of the earth taken from outer space and images of the solar system from NASA’s archive. It explores the psychology of climate change as well as the highlighting the interconnectedness of things on earth and in the universe and in this way could be seen to be a Hyperobject. In fact Timothy Morton’s book of the same name which elaborates on this concept outlines the beginning of the coal revolution and the steam engine as a Hyperobject and also as the start of the journey towards the development of the Anthropocene where a fine layer of soot is deposited all over the world followed up by the atomic age in the 1940s and 50s where radioactive material is deposited over all things on earth through the detonation of many atomic bombs and later with disasters such as Chernobyl.

“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us,”
HD Video double-projection installation/ three-screen installation, 41 mins duration, 2017-2019.

“We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us,”
(excerpt 1) middle screen

Eamon O´Kane is Professor of Visual Art: Painting and Drawing at The Art Academy – Department of Contemporary Art, Faculty of Art, Music and Design, University of Bergen