The Perpetual Motion Machine (Midland) | PAULA GAETANO ADI
The Perpetual Motion Machine (Midland)

Performance – Commissioned for the exhibition “Our of Order at Midland College, Texas”.
February 27 to March 28, 2014
Performed by 3 Midland citizens. Materials: artificial Synthetic Lawn, 1 Gallon of Crude, loud speakers, work clothing, vulture masks, a tally mechanical counter, spoons.


There are two white men with the head of a black vulture. They are sited one in front of the other in two chairs placed over a circular carpet of synthetic lawn. They are holding a spoon and they must fulfill only one task: pour crude oil 10,752 times.
Next to them there is a woman. She is counting each time they pass the crude oil to one another. If they spill the oil, the counter starts over. If they reach the 10,752 tbsps, the woman puts her counter in zero, and starts counting all over again.
I
n the background we can hear a baguala song; a copla to La Pachamama, la madre tierra.

The city of Midland, sits atop the Permian Basin, one of North America’s largest oil reserves, and in the last few years has transformed itself into the nation’s fastest booming metro area, due to the its extensive petroleum production.

The Perpetual Motion Machine  (Midland) was commissioned by Midland College, Texas for the exhibition Out of Order. The work is a durational performance executed by three Midland citizens enacting a human and hypothetical machine that recreates an absurd perpetual motion that questions the “undisputed” scientific consensus that perpetual motion is impossible to achieve and the quest for free energy.