JOUR FIXE with Ursula Biemann
Black Sea Files - artistic practice in the field
BLACK SEA FILES - ARTISTIC PRACTICE IN THE FIELD
Looking at her video essay Black Sea Files, the artist’s lecture addresses crucial questions of resource geographies and the aesthetics of artistic fieldwork. Mineral resources and fossil fuels are the driving force of our consumer society but the rate at which they are extracted raises great concern for the survival of the planet. Using investigative video as a form of artistic practice, the artist follows the construction of a new oil pipeline, recording the transformations activated by the transnational infrastructure which pumps the Caspian Crude from Baku to the Turkish Mediterranean terminal. The pipeline is a geo-strategic project of major political impact, not only for the powerful players in the region, but also for a great number of locals: farmers, oil workers, migrants and prostitutes.
Biemann’s practice has long included discussions with academics and other practitioners; she has worked with anthropologists, cultural theorists, NGO members, architects, as well as scholars of sonic culture. Her video essays reach a wide and diverse audience through festival screenings, art exhibitions, activist conferences, networks and educational settings.
Ursula Biemann is a researcher at the Institute for Theory of Art and Design at HGK Zurich and teaches seminars and workshops internationally. She is guest editor for a special issue of the cultural webmagazine ArteEast: Regimes of Extraterritoriality in the Middle East, December 2009. She is appointed Doctor honoris causa in Humanities by the Swedish University Umea, 2008 and receiver of the 2009 Meret Oppenheim Prize, the national art award of Switzerland.