Broad Underground || Petrocinema: From Wheels of Progress to Auto-Apocalypse

Broad Underground || Petrocinema: From Wheels of Progress to Auto-Apocalypse

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February 19, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Online Zoom Program
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Broad Underground || Petrocinema: From Wheels of Progress to Auto-Apocalypse @ Online Zoom Program | East Lansing | Michigan | United States

Cinema has an enduring fascination with cars. From the lure of speed and movement to the threat of the crash, experiences behind the wheel have inspired filmmakers to deliver similar kinetic pleasures. The car also promised jobs, middle-class lifestyle, and movement without limits, but it was built on the dream of cheap gas. We now know that the car’s midcentury “autopia” helped set us on the road to our current climate disaster.

Programmed by Justus Nieland, Professor of English (MSU), Kyle Sittig, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English (MSU), and Brian R. Jacobson, Professor of Visual Culture (CalTech), “Petrocinema” explores the fateful entanglement of automobiles, film, and finite natural resources. Ranging from government and industrial films produced by the Office of Public Roads, GM, Shell Oil, and BP, to a range of experimental works, this screening program scrutinizes the promise and threat of the car as a commodity, technology, design object, and unsustainable fantasy. Registration is required.

We’ll be doing a synchronous program on the 19th, but we also have an asynchronous program in advance via MSU Mediaspace that we’ll link registrants to after they register. The Detroit-based Jam Handy Organization will be well represented, plus work by Len Lye, Kevin Jerome Everson, Su Friedrich, Alain Resnais, Millie Goldsholl, Kenneth Anger, and sponsored films by GM, BP, the Bureau of Public Roads, and Greenpeace. Plus, Shellarama!

This program is presented in affiliation with InterStates of Mind: Rewriting the Map of the United States in the Age of the Automobile, now on view at the MSU Broad.
The Broad Underground is an ongoing collaboration between the MSU Broad, Film Studies Program, and Department of English at MSU. This year’s partnering venue is The Robin Theatre in REO Town, Lansing. Special thanks to the Abrams planetarium and Lansing Public Media Center for their continued support.

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