Passage #498: 3 April 2019
There are many ways to camouflage oneself. You can go for the old standby of blending in with your surroundings. But you can also employ disruptive patterning such that, while you are still visible, your features are difficult to discern. You can use shape or coloration to hide your dimensionality, or mirroring to reflect your environment. Or you can simply build a big wall around yourself. It might not make you disappear, but it sure will obscure specificity. Featurelessness tends to equal boring, and that generally equals invisibility.
Oil is boring. And, here in Los Angeles, it is all around us. Millions of barrels are extracted from the greater L.A. Basin area each year. And yet you'd be forgiven for generally forgetting about this fact. For, while plenty of wells are hiding in plain sight, dotting the hills or occasionally cropping up in a restaurant parking lot, many are indeed hidden from view -- behind walls, within architectural structures, encased in giant sculptural forms. And so oil is boring, and often invisible, except when it very much is not. When it spills or seeps, or when wells release toxic fumes, oil becomes very hard to ignore. Especially when the wells are a few scant feet from places where people live. This week we visit some "hidden" sites, some of which present some not-so-hidden hazards to their surroundings.