Feminist Solarities: After Oil School

Not bright, not bleak, but fiercely ambivalent.

In May of 2019, the Feminist Solarities Workshop Group gathered together at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal to explore the idea of feminist solarities. The workshop was organized as part of After Oil School 2 (AO2), organized by the Petrocultures Research Group and the Grierson Chair in Communication Studies, which brought together 70 international scholars, students, artists, activists and practitioners for three days of intensive reflection and collaboration on the challenges and possibilities of a social transition to energy systems and communities organized around the energy of the sun.

Taking off from the AO2 call to explore both the challenges and possibilities of reimagining energy systems and thus social transition, the Feminist Solarities collaborative grouping, one of seven working groups, asked: 

What exactly is feminist solarity? And, perhaps more importantly, how might feminist solarity offer the much-needed tools, both conceptual and material, to interrupt the given, re-engineer infrastructures, speculate on the possible, and ultimately, reimagine collectivities characterized by, as Sutton and Pindar (2000) write, a “unified disunity, a pragmatic solidarity without solidity”? 

Working together over two days, the eleven Feminist Solarities workshop participants explored these complex questions by focusing on four main lines of inquiry: speculation, interruption, infrastructure, and solidarity. Though this collaborative exploration, the group eventually morphed into the Mirrorland Collective, and authored an experimental sonic manifesto titled A Big Pile of Glitch: A Manifesto for Feminist Solarity.

A Big Pile of Glitch: A Manifesto for Feminist Solarity

Listen to it here:

Download the Manifesto here

Other Outputs from AO2

In addition to the Feminist Solarities Workshop Group, After Oil 2 produced several other workshop groups including Indigenous Solarities, community renewable energy, Revolutionary Solarities, Solarpunk, and Speculative Solarities. The collaborative efforts of AO2 also resulted in 2 publications:

Solarities: Seeking Energy Justice. After Oil Collective, Ayesha Vemuri and Darin Barney, Ed. (2022)

Solarity. Darin Barney and Imre Szeman, ed. Special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly 120.1 (2021)