The fabulous Kalup Linzy interviewed fellow artist Jeremy Mende about his artwork "Narcissus" after their time at Headlands coincided last year, and I remember that piece Mende created in the Headlands Project Space (pictured above) quite well myself. Visitors were invited to don a sensor that tracked their heartbeat and then stand before a long tray filled with petroleum as animated words triggered by said heartbeat appeared on the surface. Mende explains further:
The reflective nature of the petroleum makes the animations appear to swim across the black surface. The oil is a significant part of the installation because it is both a critical factor in our globalized economy as well as a natural byproduct of carbon-based life. Petroleum is concentrated carbon, the resting state of living organisms that died a million years ago. When the viewer sees their metaphoric reflection in the pool, they are essentially looking back in time, seeing themselves within the larger contradictions of life/death, organic/toxic, purity/contamination.
Read the whole interview here and visit Mende's website here.