Scenes of Extraction by Sanaz Sohrabi

February 15–16, 2023 at 00:00–00:00pm

Berlin International Film Festival, Potsdamer Platz 11, 10785 Berlin, Germany


“Sanaz Sohrabi creates an archival constellation from the still and moving images of the British Petroleum Archives, documenting the expansive colonial network behind the British geophysical expeditions that spanned across Iran in the early 20th century.”

Scenes of Extraction will have its World premiere at Berlinale Forum Expanded from February 16-26.

“Scenes of Extraction” creates an archival constellation with 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 South East Asia. 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 probable nature. The film unpacks the relationship between the political economy of photography, archival technologies, and the visual history of resource extraction in Iran.”

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Sanaz Sohrabi (b. Tehran) is an artist, filmmaker, and essayist whose work considers visual traces, acts of viewership and their reciprocal dis/reappearances to investigate the impermanence and malleability of archival records and historical narratives. 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 solo and group exhibitions and festivals including: International Film Festival Rotterdam, Iran Cinéma Vérité Festival (Winner of International Mid-length), IndieLisboa (Silvestre Section Best Short Film), Valdivia International Film Festival Chile (Special Jury Mention), Mimesis Documentary Film Festival (Best Documentary Short), Ann Arbor Film Festival (Jury Award), Montréal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM), Sheffield Doc/Fest, Kasseler Dokfest, Videonale, VideoEX Zurich, FIDBA Argentina, among others. Sohrabi’s recent solo and group exhibitions include SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, VOX Centre de l’image contemporaine, Montréal, Centre Clark, and Carpintarias de São Lázaro, Lisbon. Sohrabi has been supported by fellowships and artist residency awards such as Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, RAW Académie Senegal, SOMA Summer School Ciudad de México, Est-Nord-Est résidence d’artistes, and Vermont Studio Center. Sohrabi received her BFA from Uni­ver­sity of Tehran College of Fine Arts and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a merit scholarship. Sohrabi is a member of the research group “Oil Cultures from the Middle East and Latin America (OCMELA),” with whom she has published a conversation with Murtaza Vali, titled “Petromobilities in the Global South,” released by Museumsforlaget in Norway in March 2022.

Opening Dates:
silent green Betonhalle & SAVVY Contemporary: Wednesday, February 15

Marshall McLuhan Salon – Embassy of Canada: Thursday, February 16

Please have a look at the Berlinale Forum Expanded Press Release and Berlinale Forum Film List