Panel 7 (Red Salon/ Volksbühne)
Oil, Art and Propaganda
With J Henry Fair (USA), Helon Habila (USA/NGA), James Marriott (GB)
Moderation: Dariya Manova
In a lecture on CO2 and propaganda, photographer and activist J Henry Fair will relate his local experiences with the energy industry and landscapes to the aesthetics of his photographic work in the Hambacher Forst brown coal mining area.
Afterwards, writer Helon Habila will speak with literary scholar Dariya Manova about his novels "Oil on Water" and "Travelers". The discussion will focus on engaged literature and journalism, fiction and documentary, entertainment and propaganda. How can fiction narrate the socio-economic, ecological, political, and deeply personal consequences of extractivism on African and European soil? And how does nonfiction accomplish this?
In this context, James Marriott will talk about his most recent book "Crude Britannia" (co-authored with Terry Macalister) and the challenge of narrating Britain's oil history, shaped by colonialism and capitalism. The theme in this panel will be further explored in the film "Big Men" in BABYLON at 6:30 pm.
J Henry Fair comes from Charleston in South Carolina. Today, he works from New York and Berlin and travels the world as a photographer. His longtime project is a large-scale aerial photo series about the destruction of the environment by industry. He describes himself as an artist and activist, although the art trade has advised him against it. But Fair is more concerned with the long-term liabilities of our mode of production than the quick success on the photographic art market.
•Industrial Scars, 2016
Helon Habila was born in Nigeria. He now lives in the USA and teaches creative writing at Georg Mason University in Fairfax near Washington. Helon Habila became internationally known with his novel "Oil on Water", a powerful story of Nigeria's oil culture, which is above all one thing: A long struggle between international corporations, a corrupt elite, and a population that is ruined – economically, ecologically, morally.
•Oil on Water, 2010
James Marriott is a journalist and author and member of "platform London" - a network that bridges art, activism, education, and research. His new book "Crude Britannia" is petrocriticism in the form of a cultural-geographical journey around the world through the history of oil in Britain and all the cultures and countries that have been and are being affected by it.
•Crude Britannia, 2021
•The Oil Road, 2013