The Gas Imaginary: Diagramming and Periodizing Mine Power
by Rachel O'Reilly
Timothy Mitchell's concept of ‘carbon democracy’ named the way in which the deliberative governance of modern nations has been entirely dependent on specific energy formations – first coal, then oil, then gas – that produce simultaneously war, corruption, and racialized zones of toxic inequality. He makes a particular point of observing the diminishment of worker’s regulatory power over these fuel transitions. And yet modernist aesthetic and architectural heritages have always rendered the grounding violences of extractivism only at the edge of European and installed settler colonial optics. The dispossessive settler estate as an idea has essentially globalized, and it is this that is now unravelling as capitalism reaches the limits of land use. Since 2013, Rachel O'Reilly's project The Gas Imaginary has used diagrams, animation, installation and film to unpack and periodize the formal and political differences between modernist and 'unconventional' petrocultures. This presentation will discuss her collaborative artistic techniques used to diagram and animate analytics for the install of unconventional gas fracking in Australia.
Rachel O’Reilly is an artist, writer/poet, curator and PhD researcher at Goldsmiths’ Centre for Research Architecture. She teaches the theory seminar 'At the Limits of the Writerly' on planetarity, political economy and poetics at the Dutch Art Institute. She was previously a curator at the Australian Cinematheque at the Gallery of Modern Art | Australian Cinematheque, Brisbane, and post-academic researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academy. Her artistic work and research have been presented internationally, most recently at Edit Russ Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg DE, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven NL; E-flux, New York USA; and UNSW Galleries, Sydney AU. Recent curatorial collaborations include EX-EMBASSY with Sonja Hornung, and Planetary Records: Performing Justice between Art and Law, Contour Biennale, with Natasha Ginwala. She co-wrote the book On Neutrality with Jelena Vesic and Vlidi Jeric for the Non-Aligned Modernisms series (MCA, Belgrade), publishes with Danny Butt on artistic autonomy in settler colonial space, and currently co-edits Feminist Takes on Black Wave Film with Antonia Majaca and Jelena Vesic for Sternberg Press. www.racheloreilly.net