Info     Work

Daytripping the

As a part of the exhibition “Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy” at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) in Chicago, artist Rozalinda Borcilă created a series of workshops and participatory walking tours along the region’s petroleum supply chain. I assisted Borcilă in the various educational and facilitation materials she needed to help guide these tours—Daytripping the PetroCapital—throughout 2016–17.

An excerpt from MoCP’s exhibition essay (available in its entirety here) reads:

From 2009 until early 2016, piles of dark, gritty dust loomed five stories high along the banks of the Calumet River on the Southeast Side of Chicago. Tar sands oil operations at the BP plant in nearby Whiting, Indiana, were piling up petroleum coke, or petcoke, a cheap and dirty energy source produced out of their waste. At a KCBX storage facility—a subsidiary of Koch Industries—hills of petcoke the size and scale of the area’s bygone factories had long supplanted thriving industry. The mounds lay so close to South Side neighborhoods, in fact, that residents said on windy days airborne particulates from the site drifted into their yards, coating their homes with a black dust.

The world’s largest oil companies/corporations—often referred to collectively as Big Oil—had turned the area into a local dumping ground for their operations. [...] Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy grew out of our desire to bring attention to the devastating environmental and public health impact of petcoke, and by extension the oil industry as a whole.

Various materials at 11" x 17". 2016–17.

Bubbles & Clouds: A Derive-ative explores the world of finance and real estate development in connection to structures of racialized violence. Map drawn by Javier.

Where is After Petroleum and Whose Time is it There? is a performative pedagogical event that uses one’s body in space to connect with new ways of knowing; the aim is to understand infrastructure as both a space-making and time-making regime.

The Black Snake Tour of Aurora: Petrocapitalism and Resistance in the Global Suburb is an eight-hour walking tour of the pipeline owned by Enbridge, the largest energy transport network on the continent. Accompanying Borcilă as facilitators were residents and researchers Ulysses Diaz (Caracol) and Ze Puga.
/ 2023