June 26, 2012
The Deep Reach of Oil Dependence
An image search on the subject of oil offers a compelling story: From happy, healthy babies to sticky, dripping waterfowl, it is abundantly clear that our dependence on oil reaches infinitely further than most of us recognize. Oil cleanses and purifies, it also contaminates and corrupts. Oil is nutritious and healing as much as it pollutes and destroys. Oil is simultaneously ghastly and beautiful. Oil in all of its many forms is essential to our lives and our livelihoods. Oil is a coveted commodity that fuels the economic elite, destabilizes governments, and props up dangerous regimes. We cannot (and will not) survive without oil in all of its many forms, but can we resist greed and corruption? Can we illuminate the ways in which communities continue to resist the environmental devastation and genocide that is so inextricably linked to the collection and distribution of oil?
Our newest work: Moreechika, season of mirage, is in many ways an attempt to wrestle with the environmental, societal, and political implications of our oil dependence. Through artistic metaphor, we use our Contemporary Dance medium to reach beyond the logical/cognitive awareness of facts and explore the ways in which unregulated oil drilling has resulted in wide-spread devastation and has sparked resistance in global communities. We find inspiration in stories of Nigerian activists who’s resistance to “Big Oil” attracted global attention; stories of the indigenous women of Ecuador, who have refused to permit drilling on their land for over 20 years; stories of native Colombian women who have repeatedly forced oil companies out of their lands; and of recent industrial oil spills that have destroyed many ecological systems, communities, and livelihoods.