Talk / Discussion Petrosalon

Petromelancholia Fotografie: Alexander Klose

wo 25–10–2023

19:00 uur t/m 22:00 uur

Goethe-Institut Rotterdam

In the context of the exhibition Petromelancholia

This Petrosalon, already the second of its kind in Rotterdam, is dedicated to the concept of "petromelancholia" as a method and heuristic for understanding our current late petromodern condition and how to get beyond that.

The salon will be hosted by Alexander Klose and Benjamin Steininger, cultural theorists and founding members of the curatorial research collective Beauty of Oil ( It takes place in the context of the exhibition Petromelancholia at BRUTUS Rotterdam, curated by Alexander Klose, which is on show until 19 November.

“Petromelancholia” is the condition that the US energy humanities scholar Stephanie LeMenager diagnosed as being at the core of her home country’s cultural and political struggle to hang on to “oil culture“. The more people realize that the age of oil is eventually going to end—and has to in regard to the state of the planet—the harder they cling on to it. Following this diagnosis, the world has lately been swept by waves of petromelancholia. Acknowledging the long-lasting success of these dynamics of denial, which started 50 years ago, a mere “energy transition” might turn out to be not enough to get over modernity’s true love. Wouldn’t we also need acceptance and grief, reconciliation and reparations—processes that eventually lead to profound cultural, political and economic transitions?

Guests include artists Tanja Engelberts and Rumiko Hagiwara (both artists whose works are part of the Petromelancholia exhibition) and Derk Loorbach (DRIFT, Erasmus University Rotterdam).  After a roundtable conversation, there will be an opportunity for exchange in smaller groups in an informal atmosphere with drinks and snacks. The evening will be moderated by Fred Balvert, director of the Science Gallery Rotterdam.

 The Petrosalon is co-organised by the research collective Beauty of Oil (Berlin/Vienna), BRUTUS Rotterdam and the Goethe-Institut Niederlande.
We hope that you are able to join us. A salon is a familial form of event. In order to know how many guests we can expect and to be able to provide all of you with snacks and drinks we kindly ask you to RSVP by email via before Friday, Oktober 20.

Rowan van As: Taxi, installation view Rowan van As: Taxi, installation view in the exhibition Petromelancholia | (c) Alex Close