online - talk
Dirt, Debt, Death, Data
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi

Saturday 8 May 2021 | 5pm Amman Time

Oil, the 20th century’s most important non-renewable resource, lies at the center of discourses on ecological peril and financial oppression, though its colonialist history has faded from view. In a lecture-performance enacting a liquidation of Mideast history, speculative exploration, extractive economics, and fictional representation, the artist debuts a one-person collective called Oil Research Group (ORG). ORG is propelled by the concept that “data is the new oil,” coined in 2006 by British mathematician (and customer loyalty card inventor) Clive Humby. Oil is a finite source at the very core of both global financial markets and #nofuture petroleum wars; information, seemingly infinite, also “leaks'' into the collapsing tripartite structures of governance, markets, and society. The digital self is sticky, like a bird after an oil spill. Moving along the axis of four Ds: dirt, debt, death, and data, ORG traces the finitude and preciousness of our dominant technologies, along the way testing assumptions about the material and immaterial ways in which we are connected, addicted, fossilized, and one hopes, liberated in their wake.

Margarita Osipian will be joining as an interlocutor.

Image Credit, Still from Chernobyl (HBO, 2019).
Maryam Monalisa Gharavi is an artist, poet, and theorist whose work explores the interplay between aesthetic and political valences in the public domain. Recent exhibitions, residencies, and expanded publications include Sonic Acts, Matadero Museum, Nottingham Contemporary, Pioneer Works, Parasol Unit, Serpentine Cinema, Brooklyn Public Library, Wysing Arts Centre, Delfina Foundation, Darat al Funun, among others. She has served as lecturer, visiting faculty, and studio artist at Harvard University, Sandburg Instituut, New York University, Northeastern University, Montclair State University, Valand Academy, Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, and Bard Microcollege. Book publications include Waly Salomão’s Algaravias: Echo Chamber (Ugly Duckling Presse), nominated for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; The Distancing Effect (BlazeVOX); and Bio (Inventory Press). Artist books include Apparent Horizon 2 (Bonington Gallery); Alphabet of an Unknown City (Belladonna*), Secret Catalan Poem (The Elephants), Mohammad Wikipedia Book (Recess), and Dictionary of Night, co-authored with Mirene Arsanios (Ashkal Alwan). She was editor at The New Inquiry between 2012 and 2017, where she is author of the open text South/South. She works and lives in New York.
Margarita Osipian is a researcher, curator, and cultural organiser living and working in Amsterdam. Engaging with the intersections and frictions between art, design, technology, and language, she organizes collaborative projects in formal institutions and more precarious and fleeting spaces. Holding an MA in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in English Literature from the University of Toronto, her research has focused on visual culture, technology, and the carceral state. Margarita is part of The Hmm, a platform for internet cultures, a member of the Hackers & Designers collective, on the curatorial team of Sonic Acts, and part of the artistic core of the W139.

The talk will be in English.

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