Megan Jeanne Gette

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Texas, Austin, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10111

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Gette, Megan (Texas, Austin, U. of) "Remedial Earths: Sensing Energy in the Permian Basin "

The Permian Basin connotes a geological region of immense oilfield productivity. This “permania” has created boomtowns where oil trucks frequently run into homes and parked cars, invisible methane leaks from refineries, chemical showers rain on gardens and animals, birds fall out of trees due to the increased toxicity, drills disrupt the magnetic fields that guide the migration patterns of monarch butterflies and produce low frequency noise as pollution. It is in this context of atmospheric and subterranean toxicity that I aim to explore methods of detecting, speculating and dwelling in these “insensible” intimacies (Yusoff 2015) through technologies of geological sonification (Helmreich 2010). There is a more expansive relationship to energy beyond its purview as “fuel” (Daggett 2019). Geological prospectors use gravimeters or magnetometers to find oil, but diviners find water, mineral veins, hidden graves or lost things via coathangers and Y-shaped sticks. Activists and journalists use infrared cameras to detect methane leaks, and butterflies sense electromagnetism or radio waves. Ultimately, my project will investigate how attunements to energy re-figure anthropogenic practices and social relationship to earth within scales beyond a human sensoria: entangled with investment bubbles, fraught with risk, and sensitive to conflict, toxicity and market demand.