Invisible Disruption: The Cultural Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado

Invisible Disruption: The Cultural Politics of Hydraulic Fracturing in Colorado.

October 7 – Nov 4

Denise Fernandes
Shelby McAuliffe


October 8th  |  5:30-6:45pm

Art in Dialogue with Fracking – Engaging Climate Change Through the Arts

CU Boulder Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts fellows Shelby McAuliffe and Denise Fernandes discussed how they combined artistic practice with social and scientific methods for Invisible Disruptions. The workshop was hosted in partnership with the Boulder County Arts Alliance, the City of Boulder Office of Arts + Culture, and the CU Boulder Office for Outreach and Engagement.

Invisible Disruption unfolds within the contentious landscape of Colorado oil and gas production sites. The images and audio focus on petrochemical sites at the border of Boulder and Weld counties in northeastern Colorado, showcasing voices that determine resource allocation, the ensuing cultural politics, and resulting disruptions. The work here attempts to highlight the physical and cultural divisions between individuals and communities interacting at different scales with varying perspectives.

Through close observation of the landscape, following the physically demarcated county line, we have witnessed the realities of clashing urban and rural conceptions of space; the changing demands of livelihoods at odds with ecosystem management; the divergent perceptions of land and resource use; the complicated and contradictory policies and laws that cross federal, state, and county boundaries; and the camouflaged oil and gas equipment.

Geospatial maps often view resources linearly, as single points upon the Earth’s surface, rather than a broader landscape. Yet we know that hydraulic fracturing, and other extractive processes, encompass far more. Facilitating a dialogue between diverse perspectives, this exhibition brings forth a visible aspect to elements (physical, technological, and human) that interact to create an altered landscape.

This project is funded by the Nature, Science, Environment, and Technology (NeST) Studio for the Arts at the University of Colorado Boulder.