1973: Sorry, Out of Gas

Exhibition, Main galleries, 7 November 2007 to 20 April 2008

1973: Sorry, Out of Gas captures the architectural innovation spurred by the 1973 oil crisis, when the value of oil increased exponentially and triggered economic, political, and social upheaval across the world. Featuring over 350 objects including architectural drawings, photographs, books and pamphlets, archival television footage, and historical artefacts, it maps the global response to the shortage and its relevance to architecture today.

1973: Sorry, Out of Gas combines investigations from diverse fields, including the development and applications of both active and passive solar technologies, experiments with earth shelter building, improvements in insulation and construction materials, advances in wind power technology, and the design of “integrated systems” to manage energy sources in larger contexts. The exhibition captures the global social and political response to the oil crisis through footage of impassioned television speeches, historic photographs recording lines at gas stations and streets emptied of cars, and documentation of U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s 1979 installation of solar panels on the White House roof – including one of the original panels (later removed by Carter’s successor Ronald Reagan). The impact of the crisis on Western popular culture is represented by a selection of the era’s board games, whose themes and titles capture the anxiety of a new lifestyle and reflect the profits of oil suppliers, as well as promotional materials such as advertising campaigns and brochures.

A website created by Bluesponge, www.sorryoutofgas.org, accompanies the exhibition and features the full catalogue contribution by Harriet Russell alongside selected images from the exhibition.

Curated by Mirko Zardini with Giovanna Borasi, CCA. Exhibition design by Saucier + Perrotte Architectes, Montreal. Graphic design by Zab Design and Typography, Winnipeg.

Exhibition curator Mirko Zardini gives a tour of the exhibition.