Energy Humanities EAST, a congress organized by slawistic and literary scholars from Humboldt University Berlin and University Potsdam, in cooperation with the University of Chicago, reacted to the fact that the academic field Energy Humanities, i.e. the cultural research of fossil modernities has been dominated by US-American and Canadian researchers and their respective research fields, namely their home cultures. The prominent role that namely the US has been playing in pathing the way into petromodernity can hardly be denied. But given, that the world had been strictly divided into two competing spheres of political-economic systems during the longest phases of the petromodern 20th century, it also seems quite reductionist to assume that the “American Way of Life” was the incarnation of the petromodern lifestyle and therefore researching on it would mean to trace aspects of this lifestyle in cultures around the globe. Quite the opposite could be true, that the sowjet system and society has produced its very own version of petromodernity and energy culture. To start collecting the pieces of this new perspective on the legacy of the sowjet-russian empire was the aim of the congress.
Beauty of Oil was invited to produce and show a REVUE PETRO NOIR at Kino Arsenal as the opening event. We concentrated on the Sowjet-Russian and Easter-European holdings in our media archive and on a materialistic reading of Malewitch’s Black Square and the futuristic opera Victory over the Sun, in which it had materialized for the first time. Since we were not showing the material as a multi-channel projection but from one projector in a cinema, and in order to avoid being misinterpreted as some kind of cinematic contribution, we decided on the square format for the projection.