School of Art, Media, and Technology

Analyzing the Gulf Oil Spill

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The Oil Spill
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 — 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The New School
Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor
Admission: Free

A man-made catastrophe of rare magnitude has changed the Gulf of Mexico. The largest marine oil spill in history, the Deepwater Horizon disaster spewed oil into the sea for close to three months, from April 20 to July 15, 2010, at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day. How are we to think of this catastrophe? Do customary categories — environmental disaster, corporate responsibility, governmental regulations — still apply? Is the Deepwater Horizon oil spill calling for a new consideration of systems we depend on?
Join faculty members from across The New School as they analyze distinct aspects of the oil spill, drawing from their expertise in political science, economics, environmentalism, media, ethics, fashion, and art. Each one will speak for five minutes and address the crisis from their particular professional domain. Possible questions include: what is the nature of our dependency on technology, and how has technical know-how become the domain of a few? What is the impact of those who made their living on boats and beaches along the coast, and of their new conversations with distant peers in Alaska, still struggling after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill? What issues of design are implicated in the inability to cap the well? How have images of the plume served as a metaphor of the failures of both corporate responsibility and government regulation? How has the visual — what can be seen versus what cannot — shaped our perception of the spill’s effects? What are the long-term social, political, and environmental consequences of the disaster? What are we to the coral crabs and brittle stars, the mussels and tube worms of the “cold seeps,” the geological features of the Gulf’s ocean floor so deeply affected by the oil spill?

An interdivisional encounter organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School for Social Research and Parsons The New School for Design.

Joel Towers, Dean, Parsons The New School for Design

Shana Agid, Assistant Professor, School of Art, Media, and Technology, Parsons The New School for Design
Lopamudra Banerjee, Assistant Professor of Economics, The New School for Social Research
Carolyn Berman, Chair, Humanities Department, The New School for General Studies
Elizabeth Ellsworth, Associate Provost for Curriculum and Learning, The New School; Co-director, smudge studio
Shelley Fox, Donna Karan Professor of Fashion, Parsons The New School for Design
Victoria Hattam, Professor of Political Science, The New School for Social Research
Jamie Kruse, New School graduate, Masters in Media Studies, artist and Co-director, smudge studio
Dominic Pettman, Associate Professor, Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Cameron Tonkinwise, Chair, Design Thinking and Sustainability, School of Design Strategies, Parsons The New School for Design
Bhawani Venkataraman, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts

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