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Sensing Cosmologies Beyond Extractivism

Uptown Campus
Stone Auditorium

Please join us for a lecture by Imani Jacqueline Brown, Sensing Cosmologies Beyond Extractivism, on Tuesday, April 11, 6:00pm, Stone Auditorium, 210 Woldenberg Art Center. This lecture is supported by the Sandra Garrard Fund for Recent Trends in Contemporary Art.

Abstract Here in Louisiana, 10,000 miles of oil and gas access canals have been dredged by over 100 fossil fuel corporations through our precious coastal wetlands. These access canals have enabled the drilling of over 90,000 wells and have led to the erosion of over 2,000 square miles of land (and counting). We can follow the flow of oil from wetland wells via 50,000 miles of pipeline to a region once called "Plantation Country," now the "Petrochemical Corridor," and nicknamed "Cancer Alley." There, over 200 of the nation's most polluting petrochemical plants and refineries occupy the footprints of formerly slave-powered sugarcane plantations. As these facilities toxify the air of majority-Black descendant communities, they crush the burial grounds of their historically enslaved ancestors.

Antebellum Black burial grounds have become the frontlines of local resistance to what I call the continuum of extractivism, which spans from colonialism and slavery to coastal erosion, cancer, and climate change. Extractivism is more than the systemic extraction of value from human and nonhuman bodies; it is a cosmology, a worldview, that sees profit as its core value and deploys segregation as its driving force.

Mapping the fossil fuel production cycle through projects like Follow the Oil reveals the state-sanctioned corporate greed that has imperilled and impoverished Louisiana. Sensing webs of pipelines, canals, and wells as constellations reveals the cosmological dimensions of extractivism. If our society has followed the guidelines of these constellations to the ends of the earth, we must ask, What remains at the ends of the earth? Our enslaved ancestors planted groves of trees to mark the graves of their loved ones. How do these sacred groves rupture the continuum of extractivism and open portals to other ways of being in the world?

Imani Jacqueline Brown is an artist, activist, and researcher from New Orleans. Her work investigates continuums of extractive environmental and economic systems, from settler-colonial genocide and slavery to contemporary gentrification, fossil fuel production, and police and corporate impunity. These investigations expose the layers of violence and resistance that comprise the foundations of US society and prefigure a future of ecological reparations. Imani is a fellow with Open Society Foundations, as well as an architectural researcher with Forensic Architecture and a visiting researcher at the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Newcomb Art Department

For more information on this event, please visit https://tulane.campuslabs.com/engage/event/8999615