Video

Black Sea Files

Ursula Biemann

2005, 43:53 minutes, colour

TAPECODE 656.05

Black Sea Files is a territorial research on the Caspian oil geography: the world's oldest oil extraction zone. A giant new subterranean pipeline traversing the Caucasus will soon pump Caspian crude to the West. The line connecting the resource fringe with the terminal of the global high-tech oil circulation system, runs through the video like a central thread.

However, the trajectory followed by the narrative is by no means a linear one. Circumventing the main players in the region, the video sheds light on a multitude of sceondary sceneries. Oil workders, farmers, refugees and prostitutes who live along the pipeline come into profile and contribute to a wider human geography that displaces the singular and powerful signifying practices of oil corporations and oil politicians.

Drawing on investigatory fieldwork as practiced by anthropologists, journalists and secret intelligence agents, the Black Sea Files comment on artistic methods in the field and the ways in which information and visual intelligence is detected, circulated or withheld.

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