Map of Petropliis, City of Desire, city of Ashes

Brian Holmes: Petropolis—Spring, 2017 (Place and time TBA)

Brian Holmes will speak about the new project Petropolis: a networked map/archive combining open-source software, public information, citizen and corporate journalism, direct observation by individuals and groups, plus original contributions by engaged artists. The story begins on the South Side of Chicago in the Calumet region, and expands to metropolitan, continental and global scales. Icons and colored lines represent industrial installations, power plants, ports, railroads and pipelines, as well as sites of crucial events. Click on any of these and you will find images, narratives, information, links, videos and sometimes even fiction or poetry. Here and there, icons of animals appear: they have been chosen by participating artists to signal their contributions. On the ground in the Calumet region, wide-open vigilant eyes link to portraits of community activists, who took a stand against the dusty piles of petcoke polluting their neighborhoods.


Brian Holmes is an art and cultural critic with a PhD in Romance Languages. He has a longstanding interest in neoliberal globalization and a taste for on-the-ground intervention. From 1990 to 2009 he lived in Paris, collaborated with political art groups such as Ne Pas Plier, Bureau d’Etudes, Public Netbase, Hackitectura, Makrolab and others, and published in journals such as Multitudes, Springerin, and Brumaria. With Claire Pentecost and the 16 Beaver Group he co-organized the Continental Drift seminars from 2005 to 2009, with variations up to the present. His essays revolve around art, free cooperation, the network society, political economy and greassroots resistance ( In Chicago he is a member of the Compass group (, teaches a class a year at UIC, and is working with Rozalinda Borcila on a geographical investigation called “Foreign Trade Zone,” opening at Three Walls on April 25.

Petropolis map

Photo of UCSC Cogen

Sustainabilities at UC Santa Cruz: A Critical Overview

Workshop, May 12, 2016

How is sustainability defined at UCSC, or might be defined otherwise?

Is sustainability largely a matter of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprints on campus—and if so, what progress has been made?

Or, is such a techno-engineering and economistic framework (including fossil fuel divestment campaigns) inadequate in addressing the ways sustainability inevitably connects to social and class conflicts mediated by such manifold factors as public and private transportation, housing costs, tuition fees, and more broadly structures of inequality found in advanced capitalism?

Is UCSC’s a “sustainability of affluence,” and if so, what would be a “sustainability of justice”?

How does sustainability, as an operative term and policy marker, connect to social and racial diversity and inequality, and what are the stakes and struggles around that intersection?

Do we need to register many “sustainabilities” beyond what is otherwise an impossibly monolithic and conservative term, and finally is it adequate in any form (e.g. ecological sustainability)?

What, in other words, should be “sustained,” what “transformed”?

While these questions clearly surpass the ability of a single workshop to address the breadth and depth of issues contained therein, we hope to create the context of dialogue around whatever pressing issues participants wish to bring to the table, which will help us gain insight into our present situation vis-à-vis sustainability at UCSC.

This May 12 workshop forms part of a critical investigation into what sustainability means at UCSC, what the 2013-16 Campus Sustainability Plan has accomplished to date, and where it will go from here. Supported by a 2015 grant from the Sustainability Office, the workshop is part of the SO’s education and awareness initiative, which, in this case conducted via the Center for Creative Ecologies, offers the opportunity to take stock of sustainability discourse and practice at UCSC to date. With Miriam Greenberg, Ronnie Lipschutz, Elida Erickson, and representatives from Students for Fossil Free UC, the aim is to address sustainability at UCSC–including its variable meanings, achievements, conflicts, and problems–from each speaker’s point of view.


Photo of blue plastic bottles

A critical investigation into what sustainability means at UC Santa Cruz, May 12, 2016

Introduction by T.J. Demos, Director of Center for Creative Ecologies

What are the variable meanings, achievements, conflicts, and problems of sustainability at UCSC? This May 12 workshop forms part of a critical investigation into UCSC sustainabilities, including discussion of what the 2013-16 Campus Sustainability Plan has accomplished to date, and where it will go from here.


Fossil Free UC, student-based advocacy group, May 12, 2016

Fossil Free UC was formed in 2012 out of California Student Sustainability Coalition’s End Coal campaign, and ever since has called on the UC to divest from the top 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves. As a student-based advocacy group, we call on the University of California to immediately freeze any new investment in the 200 coal, oil, and natural gas companies with the largest carbon reserves, and to divest both directly owned and commingled funds in these companies within five years. Claire Watts is a second year Computer Science major and faculty outreach organizer with Fossil Free UCSC. Cormac Martinez del Rio is an organizer with Fossil Free UC, a trainer with the Student Sierra Coalition, and has worked with the Center for Creative Ecologies at UCSC.


Photo of temporary housing

Miriam Greenberg, “Bringing Equity Back In, or, How is the Housing Crisis a Sustainability Issue?,” May 12, 2016

Miriam Greenberg is Associate Professor of Sociology and director of the multi-campus Critical Sustainabilities project, which explores the multiple, competing, historically-rooted discourses of sustainability in Northern California. The project finds that differing approaches to sustainability emphasize different aspects of the famous “3 E’s” of economy, equity, and ecology laid out in the original Bruntland definition of the concept. In addition, it finds that some sustainabilities have been more powerful than others, agreeing with scholars like Julian Agyeman that “equity-deficient” approaches have tended to win out.


Photo pf Farm Stand

Ronnie D. Lipschutz, “Can UCSC afford to be sustainable?”, May 12, 2016

Ronnie D. Lipschutz is Professor and Chair of Politics (the latter until June30), Provost of College Eight, and Director of the college’s Minor in Sustainability Studies. He has been active in campus sustainability activities for close to 10 years.