Dirty Loonie resembles and functions like an oil derrick. Dipping from 7.5 feet, a stuffed Canada Loon repeatedly bobs its beak in and out of an oil barrel. As the derrick pumps the Loon’s dirty head spills oil over the rim of the barrel. The Loon rises as the steel arm spins down, flashing the brassy outline of the world’s continents.
As noted by many children who grow up on the prairies, there’s a similarity between oil derricks and a toy we call The Dipper Bird. Dirty Loonie invokes this humor and recognition, examining the playthings of Capital production. Increased industrial activity in northern Alberta continues to create dangerous conditions for migrating birds. The expansion of the tar sands has made it the second largest crude oil source in the world, continuing to push our dollar higher on the international market.
As Canada proudly trades Loonies on the international market, do we think about the bird’s relationship with our money? After all – There are far more Loonies than Loons in Canada. Dirty Loonie is absurd yet direct, forcing the viewer to witness the destruction of the Loon through the creation of commodity.
Dirty Loonie was most recently part of the Museum for the End of the World at Nuit Blanche 2012.