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Sociologist Jackie Orr to present performance piece on BP oil disaster

April 23, 2013

Jackie Orr, a sociologist and associate professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, will present “Slow Disaster at the Digital Edge,” a 40-minute digital performance piece, at 7:30 p.m., April 25 at the Marston Exploration Theater on the Arizona State University Tempe Campus.

Orr's performance, created in collaboration with digital artist Dovar Chen, is part of the Honors Lecture Series, presented by Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.

“Slow Disaster in the Digital Edge” uses sound and images in a live digital performance focusing on the petroleum extraction exploding in the BP oil disaster and the slow catastrophe of everyday consumption, accumulation, and disposability, Orr said.

The piece works with digital photos and video taken at one frontline of the BP disaster in Grand Isle, La. in June 2010, and a series of digital photos taken in Orr’s neighborhood in Queens, N.Y., in March 2013 and 2013.

The BP oil disaster occurred on April 20, 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and spilling an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the gulf. Oil flowed into the gulf for 87 days until the sea-floor gusher was capped on July 15, 2010. The disaster resulted in multi-billion dollar law suits and fines for the BP.

“'Slow Disaster' searches for a language to reckon with how, today, ordinary time itself seems to be wearing thin, as human and non-human worlds bear depleted signs of exhaustion,” Orr said.

The performance also “is about creating a performative space in which to re-work popular memories of the BP disaster and to re-create public affect and emotions around the everyday, ordinary experience of catastrophe, planet damage, and environmental devastation,” she added.

The performance is free and open to the public, however reservations are required. To reserve a seat, go to