On the Ecologies of Oil and Water + Screening of White Oil by Judy Price

A talk by Ursula Biemann and conversation with Emily Eliza Scott followed by a screening

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Maxwell Cummings Auditorium
1379 Sherbrooke West

February 19, 2015 - 5:30 pm


Co-presented by Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery and DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art.

On the Ecologies of Oil and Water

Based on comprehensive research, Ursula Biemann’s video works elaborate on far-reaching territorial transformations resulting from the extraction and engineering of resources. They draw attention to the biological and social micro-dynamics at work in these massive physical encroachments. Engaging with the political ecology of oil and water, she interweaves vast cinematic landscapes with documentary footage and academic findings to narrate a changing planetary reality. Discussing her artistic practice in the projects Black Sea Files and Deep Weather, Biemann raises questions regarding the entanglement of aesthetics, ecology, and geopolitics which have brought forth a new understanding of artistic research in recent years.

Please note that the presentation will be in English.

White Oil is a film about the quarries in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank. With over 350 quarries in the West Bank the stone excavated has been termed the ‘white oil’ of Palestine and is the only raw material available to support the Palestinian economy. White Oil explores the way the quarries are not just industrial spaces in which labour and excavation of raw material take place, but lived spaces by unfolding narratives around colonialism, expropriation of land and mobility through the day-to-day lives of the quarry owners, workers and security guards.

65 minutes
Arabic with English subtitles

This event is part of the exhibition World of Matter: Exposing Resource Ecologies.

Free admission


Ursula Biemann is an artist, writer, and video essayist. Her practice is research-based and involves both comprehensive fieldwork and video documentation in remote locations where she investigates the impact of the accelerated mobility of people, resources, and information on global relations. Biemann’s pluralistic practice spans a range of media that converge in formalized spatial installations. Her work also encompasses publications and lectures, as well as curatorial and collaborative research projects. 


Judy Price’s films and installations engage with the spatial, social and historical contexts of specific sites. Most recently she has been concerned with how art can draw out the explicit and hidden dynamics in zones of conflict and make visible the geopolitical forces that impact on specific geographical places. Israel and Palestine have been a focus of Price’s practice for many years.


Emily Eliza Scott is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich). She is a founding member of the art collectives the Los Angeles Urban Rangers and World of Matter.

The Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery’s public programs are made possible with the support of the Frederick and Mary Kay Lowy Art Education Fund.

Information: [email protected]