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Sanaz Sohrabi 2023 43m

Available worldwide


SCENES OF EXTRACTION creates an archival constellation from the still and moving images of British Petroleum Archives, documenting the expansive colonial network behind the British geophysical expeditions that spanned across Iran, but also reached other British oil operations in Southeast Asia. The film focuses on the parallel production of geological and ethnographic surveys, both through amateur geological footage and official technical film surveys produced by BP. It weaves through decades of archival documents to parse out the visual history of the “reflection seismography” method for oil exploration which was heavily tested across the Iranian oil belt despite its destructive and speculative nature. Situated at the nexus between science and technology studies and media archaeology, the film traces the technical legacy of these geophysical methods that are still used in deep-sea mining and are the backbone of the global energy complex. By blending the archival and speculative modes of representing the geological past, Sahnehaye Estekhraj reveals the gaps and discrepancies between the archival and lived histories of extraction and the ecological ruination of its aftermath.

About the director

Sanaz Sohrabi

Sanaz Sohrabi is a researcher of visual culture and filmmaker. She works with essay film and installation as her means of research to explore the shifting and migratory paths between still and moving images, situating a singular image in a continuum of historical relations and archival temporalities. Since 2017, Sohrabi has done extensive archival research at the British Petroleum archives to engage with the history of photography and film practices of the British controlled oil operations in Iran, conducting a visual ethnography of resource extraction in relation to the media infrastructures of BP. Sohrabi’s works have been shown widely in exhibitions and festivals.


Sanaz Sohrabi

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