Petro-geist: critical enmeshments with oil, haunting and the abject
for Extraction 2020: Tracing the Veins


Nearly Carbon Neutral Conference
Massey University, New Zealand and Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands 



Looking to refigure an Anthropocentric relationship with oil, we seek to explicate our apprehension of its liquidity. In doing so, we turn to Hegel, and position the agential oil as petro-Geist: a reanimation of the past (as fossil fuel), a haunting of the contemporary (via embeddedness and necessity) and an unruly disruptor, complicating our relationships to nature and production. The fluidity of this petro-Geist makes it impossible to grasp, catch and contain, once loose - but visible in spills and flows. Our petro-Geist is the spirit haunting the geological record - read through Latour as geostory, one which profoundly shifts our human- nature relationship through the agency of the earth as actant.

Focusing upon depths, atmospheres, flows and muddying, we present a series of texts that act as vessels of volumetrics. These texts interrogate ecologic, geologic, and cartographic space; while internalizing and unravelling intimate, affective, and traumatic currents. Following fluvial linkages between these texts, we read through the framework of Ecological Gyre Theory, our ongoing research practice. EGT investigates
the renewal and recontextualization of all things as texts, encompassed within endless constellations of assemblages in our rapidly changing world. Theoretically, EGT speaks to descension, acceleration, and reworlding; a methodology to investigate, examine, and consider that which whorls, eddies, and flows in our current context.

Mark