This essay addresses the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project and its ensuing political turmoil as an expanded assembly of performative processes. Bringing contemporary media theory's examinations of the composition of an apparatus or "dispositif" to bear on recent developments in vitalist materialism, this essay argues for the inclusion of non-human material elements in the political sphere. In particular, it defines the tendencies of contention between oil and water as a fundamental antagonism within these elemental materials. This study is grounded in the public performances of provincial, federal, and municipal governments as they relate to processes of control and resistance. In its analysis of current rhetoric surrounding the project, including political performances, this essay aims to redefine the conflict over resource extraction and pipeline development through a strategy of resistance that figures oil and water as political actants in an expanded choreographic assembly.


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pp. 69-74
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