Performed at Southern Exposure in July 2018, Oil Being: an [intra]action is a performance about light and crude oil as a material-discursive practice. The performance will explore the entanglement of light and oil, the early oil industry, and mysticism. Wearing little more than nylons, the first fiber synthesized from petroleum, Vargas’ performance engages a feminist ethics of matter and movement.

Curated by Lauren Marie Taylor
Photo Credit: Minoosh Zomorodinia


Curated by Craig Baldwin as part of Optronica 3: Polyvision in May 2018, East Bay impresario Elia Vargas enacts his in situ [Meta]rials, an anti-Anthropocene visual rite where dry ice meets crude oil at Other Cinema. Co-featured is tamara suarez porras’ in six* parts, a live performance composed from 35mm (found) slides, overhead projectors, and her live narration about the family of her biological father, who she’s never met. ALSO Star Seven, the newly expanded version of Kristin Cato’s 16mm-sourced visionary recitation ad astra, and the West Coast premiere of the oh-so-psychedelic Wishing Well from SF/Berliner Sylvia Schedelbauer! To open the show, we have Lillian Schwartz, the Dream Machine, Daumier on filmstrips, and the historic/hypnagogic Metanomen.


The world was changed in 1859, when a commercial crude oil well began successful extraction, creating a bifurcation of earth energy into fossil fuels and mystic medicinal imaginings. Oil infrastructure and oil materiality have transformed the surface of this globe. Oil is media. The body is medium.

Presented by the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry by Elia Vargas and Celeste Neuhaus in September 2017.


Seed Music was a live audiovisual performance by systemritual (Elia Vargas and Nathan Blaz) featuring quadraphonic Meyer sound inside Obscura Digital's multi-projector dome environment, for the launch of Soundwave ((7)) Architecture.” Performed by Elia Vargas and Nathan Blaz at Obscura Digital in San Francisco in June 2015.


Elia Vargas conjures ‘Liquid Landscapes,’ a performance installation confronting profound ideas about our future technological ecosystems in comparison to our natural world. Performed in July 2014 as part of Soundwave Biennial ((6)).