Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromatic Environment. Simón Bolívar (Guri) Hydroelectric Dam, Venezuela.

The Condition of Oil: An Ecology of the Venezuelan Culture Boom

In my dissertation I examine the explosion of the oil-financed cultural field that took place in Venezuela following the 1973 oil boom until the economic collapse of 1983. I argue that the changes in politics and the economy brought about by the bonanza shaped a cultural and intellectual field that became subject to the state’s modernizing policies. In my chapters I analyze the cultural institutions that oil-money made possible, diverse crossings between aesthetics and infrastructure projects, and the literature and visual arts that dealt with the shocks of accelerated development and global capitalist integration. My project introduces to the field an interdisciplinary perspective that combines world-ecology, the environmental humanities, visual and media studies, and the cultural and institutional critique of late capitalism.

Graciela Montaldo (Chair)
Bruno Bosteels
Orlando Bentancor