Human Energy: Jessica Segall with Macarena Gómez-Barris

Human Energy: Jessica Segall with Macarena Gómez-Barris

Jessica Segall, Human Energy (still), 2023. 

Human Energy: Jessica Segall with Macarena Gómez-Barris
Screening and discussion

Admission starts at $5

November 7, 2023, 7pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

e-flux Screening Room and Smack Mellon present a filmic adaptation of Jessica Segall’s four-channel installation Human Energy (2023, 35 minutes), followed by a discussion between the artist and the writer and scholar Macarena Gómez-Barris—on Tuesday, November 7 at 7pm.

Exploring humanity’s addictive and intimate relationship with oil, Segall’s film documents the largest extractive zones in the US—the oil fields in Kern County, California—as well as Soviet-era spas in Naftalan, Azerbaijan, where crude oil is used medicinally and the claims of its healing properties date back centuries. Segall captures the sprawl of the Southern Californian oilfield while dominating pumpjacks and bearing witness to erotic encounters in and around the extraction equipment, paying homage to its actual history as a queer cruising site. Shot via drone and Steadicam in the oilfields and Phantom camera in the spas, the sensual slowness of her footage divulges the role of fetish within discourses around petroleum. Through montage and the aesthetics of slow cinema, Segall builds upon the legacy of queer filmmakers such as Barbara Hammer and Kenneth Anger, incorporates influences from land art interventions by Nancy Holt, and draws inspiration from the ecosexual performances of Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens. Human Energy delves into various facets of perversion, encompassing capitalist exploitation of natural resource extraction as well as queer relationships, which are banned on screen in Azerbaijan and increasingly endangered in the United States. Segall creates direct intimacy between the flesh, the machines that probe the earth, and “liquid gold” in its unrefined state.

The screening is hosted in conjunction with Jessica Segall’s current exhibition at Smack Mellon, on view through November 19, 2023.

For more information, contact

–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue.      
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.               
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Sexuality & Eroticism
Video Art, Oil, Queer Art & Theory, USA, Caucasus & Central Asia, Extractivism

Jessica Segall is an artist that needs discipline based in Brooklyn, NY. Hostile and threatened landscapes are the sites for her work. While embedded in these sites, she plays with both the risk of engaging with the environment and the vulnerability of the environment itself, examining a queer ecology. Jessica’s work is built on a foundation of research that often includes cross-disciplinary collaboration and collaboration with scientists, activists, and non-human beings. She exhibits her work internationally, including at COP 26, The Fries Museum, The Coreana Museum of Art, The Havana Bienal, The Queens Museum of Art, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The National Museum of Jewish American History, The Inside Out Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Vojvodina, The National Gallery of Indonesia, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Split, Croatia, The Mongolian National Modern Art Gallery, and The National Symposium for Electronic Art.

Macarena Gómez-Barris is the Timothy C. Forbes and Anne S. Harrison University Professor of Modern Culture and Media and the Chair of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Gómez-Barris is a writer and scholar with a focus on the decolonial environmental humanities, authoritarianism and extractivism, queer Latinx epistemes, media environments, racial ecologies, cultural theory, and artistic practice. She is author of four books including, The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Duke University Press, 2017) and Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Américas (UC Press 2018), and Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), and co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010). She is series editor with Diana Taylor of Dissident Acts at Duke University Press. Her forthcoming book At the Sea’s Edge (Duke University Press) considers colonial oceanic transits and the generative space between land and sea.

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