The ecoartspace blog will feature artist profiles and reviews of exhibitions, as well as writings on ecological systems. We are interested in presenting work that artists are making in collaboration with scientists, and poetics including spoken word, opera, and performative work. Painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing, and printmaking are all welcome media. Speculative architecture and public art are also encourage. Submissions for posts can be sent to We look forward to hearing from you!

You can access the previous ecoartspace blog HERE (2008-2019)

ecoartspace, LLC

Mailing address: PO Box 5211 Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
  • Monday, July 17, 2023 8:25 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    July 17, 2023

    This week we recognize  Colin LyonsColin Lyons, and his fifteen year practice focused on geoengineering, extraction, alchemy, historical preservation and brownfield rehabilitation.

    "Boom Town," 2007-2009 (above) is modeled after former industrial buildings along Montreal’s Lachine Canal, and is an installation of print-based sculptures that considers the possibilities after industrial obsolescence. Meticulously rendered from source photographs, these etching plates are first printed as blueprints, and later cut and folded to make small-scale paper architectures. Finally, the end of the edition is marked by soldering the plates together, thwarting the process of mass production, while giving the plates a new purpose. Piled on top of one another, these sculptures can be read as a mass burial site, monument, or heap of scrap metal. The incongruity of these industrial structures built delicately out of paper reminds us of the one-time assumption of invincibility within these industries."

     click images for more info

    "The Conservator, 2013 (above) is a site-specific sculpture designed for The Soap Factory. This restoration machine was powered by a sprawling battery, where hundreds of cells were created from discarded zinc and copper etching plates, and fueled by a ferric chloride etching solution. Designed to polish a rusted I-beam within the gallery space, this process revealed a small space of gentrification within this post-industrial ruin. Through the process, the battery simultaneously erodes the plates, allowing it to hold a charge for just a few minutes. In the reclaiming of industrial complexes, the impulse to polish the architecture has become almost habitual, cleansing the space of its industrial heritage, and marking its new existence. This installation reverses that practice, where the act of polishing brings a sharpened awareness of the labour that was once performed within the space."

    "During Lyons first visit to Dawson City, in January 2010, he was brought to look out at the vast intestinal tailing piles left by decades of dredging in the area. This vista became the lasting image of his trip to the Yukon. In revisiting Dawson, Lyon began with a quintessentially Klondike activity – a kind of treasure hunting. Over the course of several weeks, he walked along the dredge tailings near Bonanza Creek, using a metal detector to excavate industrial cast-offs. With this collection in tow, he brought it to the Midnight Dome, where he installed my "Time Machine for abandoned futures" 2015 (above); a strange off-the-grid laboratory which became my home for over a week. This shelter adopts design strategies common in earthship architecture (rain-water collection, south facing greenhouse windows, rammed earth, etc.), but rather than environmental sustainability as its guiding principle, this bubbling chemical structure comes closer to the absurd inefficiency of many of our modern industrial pursuits. Powering this machine is a massive, roof-top battery, in which etching plates and etching acid power an electrolytic cleaning process to remove the rust from my scavenged artifacts. Once cleaned, Lyon meticulously etches the markings left by decades of rust and erosion, forming a kind of topographical map. The result is a glistening surface that memorializes the artifact’s entire lifespan. Overlooking the dredge tailings, this machine presents a kind of prototype for the preservation of degradation."

    "We will find salvation in strategic chemical spills," 2022 (above) considers recent climate-engineering proposals through the lens of alchemy. The prints borrow cloudscapes from 16th Century engraver/alchemist Hendrick Goltzius’ Metamorphoses, which depict atmosphere as solid and material, rather than a non-space; a vital concept in an age of rapidly rising atmospheric carbon levels. But here, the gods are replaced by geoengineering schemes - proposals to wash away the sins of the Anthropocene. Silkscreened over these etchings are materials such as crude oil, sulfuric acid, iron sulfate, olivine, sea salt, silica, and pyrite, which might play a role in future geoengineering technologies. Over the coming years, these images depicting congressional documents and volcanic eruptions will become increasingly visible, as the urgency to deploy these radical climate “solutions” intensifies. Etched into their plexiglass frames, and casting shadows onto the wall are descriptive technical texts written in Esperanto, pointing to the need for a new global governance structure for the coming era of global climate modification, when the key question might center on who has the right to experiment with the environment, when the burden of responsibility and the burden of impact are asymmetrical."

    In 1942, British inventor Geoffrey Pyke proposed an ambitious plan to develop a massive, ice-based aircraft carrier code-named Operation Habbakuk (aka ‘Bergship’). Soon after, a team of Canadian conscientious objectors were sent to Jasper National Park to develop a 1000-ton prototype that would utilize a new material called Pykrete - a mixture of wood pulp and ice, which was believed to be easily repairable and nearly unsinkable. However, the project was eventually abandoned, and its remains now rest at the bottom of Patricia Lake. "At its core "Operation Habbakuk," 2022 (below) explores the science of geo-engineering attempts to mimic, accelerate, or amplify natural processes of carbon reduction using highly invasive means. These strategies form a dystopian contingency plan which, employed alongside mitigation efforts, strive to preserve a close approximation of our present ecosystem. Geo-engineering stands as a kind of messianic figure for the planet, proposing to wash away the sins of the Anthropocene. However, instead of practical geoengineering prototypes, Lyons techno-solutions offer little more than time capsules, laying bare the folly of our desire to find salvation in the fine balance of strategic chemical spills, and proposing rituals which blend the sacred and scientific to question what kind of nature we hope to approximate within a techno-solutionist future."

    Colin Lyons                           grew up in the birthplace of the North American oil industry, Petrolia, Ontario in Canada, an experience that has fueled his interests in industrial ruins and sacrificial landscapes. His most recent site-based installations have been located in mine tailing piles, decommissioned landfills, historic flood infrastructure, urban brownfields, and remote islands. In recent years, Lyons has participated in fellowships and residencies including    MacDowell in New Hampshire, The Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard, and ÖRES on the island in Finland. His work has been shown widely in recent solo and group exhibitions internationally, and his projects have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Santo Foundation, The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, and The National Trust for Historic Preservation.    He received his BFA from Mount Allison University (2007) and MFA in printmaking from University of Alberta (2012).  Lyons currently lives in Binghamton, New York, where he is an assistant professor at Binghamton University (SUNY).

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Colin Lyons, Boom Town 2007-2009, etching on paper, wood, zinc etching plates; The Conservator, 2022, (battery: zinc plates, copper plates, glass, wire, ferric chloride), photo by Sarah Nienaber; Time Machine for Abandoned Futures, 2015, Plexiglas, aluminum, copper sulfate, soda ash, copper plates, zinc plates, wires, artifacts; We will find salvation in strategic chemical spills, 2022, iron Fertilization, etching, silkscreen (printed with iron sulfate, ferric chloride, olivine and rust from gold-rush artifacts), laser engraving, 22 x 15 inches; Operation Habbakuk, 2022, video still from Operation Habbakuk (2:45), produced at MacDowell and ÖRES through the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts; Portrait of artist by Evan Rensch.

  • Monday, July 10, 2023 7:49 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    July 10, 2023

    This week we recognize WhiteFeather Hunter, and her transdisciplinary body of work focused on bioart.

    “Alma,” 2009 - ongoing (above) became an internet sensation in 2012, going viral with over 5 million hits in three days, via reddit front page. She went viral again in 2015, also via reddit front page. "Hoof Hand" is Alma's internet pseudonym/avatar, appointed organically, and spontaneously performed by the reddit community. Rogue taxidermy sculpture of human hair, found wig, recycled Persian lamb coat, beaver fur, rabbit fur, mink fur, raffia, goat skin, acrylic paint, gold leaf, beeswax, deer hoof, moose teeth, taxidermy epoxy putty, found vintage mannequin. Alma explores the simultaneous worship, demonizing and mythologizing of female autonomy, hybridity and sexuality.”

     click images for more info

    “Alchematrix” 2013 (above) a self-portrait performance with gold leaf on skin, rendered as .gif animations. This performance was originally done as embodied research into the Russian folkloric witch character, Baba Yaga. Closely related to the ancient Scythian sun goddess, Tibiti, Baba Yaga sometimes has a gold leg. Here the artist's entire body is covered in gold leaf and gestures are enacted that reference both madness and seduction, qualities every witch is understood to possess. The .gif format was used for its endless repetitive nature, referencing obsessive acts and the inability to ever complete them. Alchematrix was displayed in miniature on an iPhone 4 within the upper floor of the separate work. One of the Alchematrix series was also published as a photo in Perle magazine as part of the Montreal Erotic Art exhibition (2013).”

    Whitefeather, as a collaborator, co-designed and developed a key part of the project “Wastelands,” 2018 (above) with Tagny Duff. Her co-invention of a new bioplastic, with art conservator Courtney Books, provided the basis for the biomaterial development used to construct the carrier bags for the project. WhiteFeather solely produced the new biomaterial, and adapted design sketches provided by Tagny Duff, to create carrier bags used to house biogas generators conceived by Duff for the project. The work was first shown at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University in 2018. Wastelands received an honorable mention at Ars Electronica 2019, and was nominated for the STARTS Prize. WhiteFeather's work on the project contributed significantly to its overall aesthetic, functionality and conceptual framework.

    “The Witch in the Lab Coat,” 2019-present (above) is a PhD research-creation and scientific research project (in progress) that explores the intersection of feminist witchcraft and tissue engineering through the development of a body-and-performance-based laboratory practice. This is a work in progress conducted at SymbioticA International Centre of Excellence in Biological Art in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia. Additional laboratory facilities have included at the University of Montreal, University of Ottawa and the DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease) at Charité Berlin. The Witch in the Lab Coat includes the sub-project, Mooncalf, an original research by WhiteFeather, which is a scientific and cultural exploration of the development of menstrual serum for use in tissue culture, as well as endometrial mesenchymal stem cell (eMSC) isolation from menstrual blood.

    3D Bioprinting is a project that is currently in progress 2022-2023, (below) and is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec. The intention with this project is to look at advanced manufacturing methods for constructing tissue forms from WhiteFeather's own taboo body materials. She has written about and presented numerous times over the past years about the composition of menstrual fluid and how it is a non-invasive source of stem cell acquisition. This has been her first opportunity to experiment with bioprinting and to use her stem cells in bio-inks that she was both developing and purchasing.

    WhiteFeather Hunter specializes in biomaterials research, used predominantly to develop new critical discourse. She has been professionally engaged in a craft-based (bio)art practice for over 18 years, via an ongoing material investigation of the functional, aesthetic and technological potential of bodily materials. Her works coalesce various media approaches, such as textile methods, biology, storytelling (video, audio and text), performance, public intervention, digital + web-based installations and DIY electronics. WhiteFeather holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University. She is currently a SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, Australian Government International RTP Scholar and UWA Postgraduate Scholar, situated between the School of Human Sciences and School of Design at The University of Western Australia. She has collaborated and worked in numerous international laboratory-based artist research residencies. She has lectured, shown and performed work internationally and has been featured in multiple international magazines, journals, art books, blogs, video and television spotlights.

    Featured images (top to bottom):©WhiteFeather Hunter, Alma 2009, human hair, Persian lamb, beaver fur, rabbit fur, mink, raffia, goat skin, acrylic paint, gold leaf, beeswax, deer hoof, moose teeth, taxidermy epoxy, found vintage mannequin, 69” x 33” x 24”; Alchematrix, 2013, shown in gif format; Wastelands, 2018, shown at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University; The Witch in the Lab Coat, 2019, conducted at SymbioticA International Centre of Excellence in Biological Art in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia, and University of Montreal, University of Ottawa and the DZNE (German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease) at Charité Berlin; 3D Bioprinting 2022-2023, supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Quebec; portrait of artist.

  • Monday, July 03, 2023 10:57 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    July 3, 2023

    This week we recognize    Christopher KennChristopher Kennedy and  his career as an artist and designer bringing attention to environmental stewardship through civic engagement. 

    The Field Guide to Mushrooms in New York City (above) was created in 2012, and is an introduction to hunting for wild mushrooms. "Come along with us and explore the latent potential of the fungi kingdom in New York City! HUNT for mushrooms in the city with the help of this guide. This publication was created as part of the Queens Arts Express, an annual spring arts festival is packed with arts exhibitions, festive events, and live performances in public spaces throughout neighborhoods clustered along the 7 train route. The MycoMap project is a collaboration between: Strataspore, the Urban Landscape Lab, Sarah Williams of the Spatial Information Design Lab, Anne Yen Illustrator, Erica Schapiro-Sakashita, and Networked Organisms and their Habitats."

     click images for more info

    “Chance Ecologies,” 2015 (above) is a framework for artistic gestures and research projects exploring the un-designed landscapes and wilderness found in abandoned spaces, post-industrial sites, and landfills. The main trajectories of the project are to create research and discourse around the value of wild spaces in the urban environment; to document, learn from, and commemorate the naturally occurring ecosystems that are being lost to development; and to articulate contemporary readings of and new forms of relating to (urban) wilderness. Chance Ecologies began investigating its first project site, Hunter’s Point South, Queens, in the summer of 2015, with a group of 20 international artists creating research-based arts projects documenting and mapping this site, working with materials on site, and creating photo & video on site.”

    “The Environmental Performance Agency’s Multispecies Care Survey,2017 (above)was a public engagement and data gathering initiative meant to provoke and articulate forms of environmental agency that de-center human supremacy and facilitate the co-generation of embodied, localized plant-human care practices. This work was a continuation of the EPA’s work in response to the dismantling of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the 2016-2020 presidential administration. With this project, the collective asked for public input: In a time of pandemic crisis, how do we re-value what care means for all living beings? An online survey and series of protocols, as well as facilitated Multispecies Community Care Circles were presented. The data gathered through this survey is meant to work towards drafting a new piece of policy, The Multispecies Act. This Act aims to offer a set of embodied, actionable principles for centering spontaneous urban plant life as one means (among many) of contending with the failure of our environmental regulatory apparatus to deliver policy that protects and values life both human and non-human.”

    “Suit Up: Join the Emergent Plantocene Clean-Up,” 2019 (above) was a  project and installation for the exhibition The Department of Human and Natural Services at NURTUREart. EPA Embodied Scientist Training was a call to participate in a multispecies coalition of embodied scientists, activists, and spontaneous plants who are re-imagining federal policy and agency in the face of imminent climate crises and mass extinction. In response to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s unprecedented rollback of 75+ federal environmental rules and regulations the EPA Embodied Scientist Training is a call to intimate action! The installation featured a training video, suggested fieldwork scores, and the needed gear and equipment to hit the streets as an EPA agent and gather first hand experience collecting environmental data and performing an emergent Plantocene clean-up.”

    Glyphosate is one of the most common herbicides, first developed by chemist Henry Martin in the 1950s for the company Cilag. It was not widely used until 1974 when Monsanto (acquired by Bayer in 2018) brought it to market under the brand name “Roundup.” At Kennedy’s home in Austin, Texas he is woken up daily by the sounds of lawn mowers and ground crews spraying glyphosate on nearby lawns even though there is little vegetation left to manage in the wake of a multi-year drought. Fed up by the lack of “weedy resistance” in his own neighborhood, he created “No War on Plants,” in 2022, as a simple silkscreen print meant to be wheat-pasted along the streets of Austin. The work is a direct commentary on the complexities of industrial agriculture and the petro-chemical companies that feed their continued growth.

    Christopher Kennedy is the associate director at the Urban Systems Lab, The New School and lecturer in the Parsons School of Design. Kennedy’s research focuses on the social-ecological benefits of urban plant communities, and the role of civic engagement in developing new approaches to environmental stewardship and nature-based resilience. As artist-designer Kennedy creates site-specific projects that examine conventional notions of “Nature,” interspecies agency, and biocultural collaboration. Drawing from a background in environmental engineering, Kennedy re-imagines field science techniques and new forms of storytelling to develop embodied research, installations, sculptures, and publications that recontextualize social-ecological systems. Kennedy has worked collaboratively on projects shown at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Levine Museum of the New South, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, the Ackland Art Museum and the Queens Museum. He holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from RPI, a MA in Environmental Conservation Education from NYU and a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina.

    Featured images (top to bottom):©Christopher Kennedy, A Field Guide to Mushrooms in New York City, 2012, published in 2014 on ISSUU; Chance Ecologies, 2015, Hunters Point, South Queens; Multispecies Care Survey, 2017, specimens collected in Central Park; Suit Up: Join the Emergent Plantocene Clean-Up, 2019, included in exhibition titled The Department of Human and Natural Services, curated by Mariel Villeré at NURTUREart; No War on Plants, 2022, silkscreen print (free PDF download), Austin Texas, as pictured in Earthkeepers Handbook, published June 2023; Portrait of Artist.

  • Friday, June 30, 2023 3:49 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    July 2023 e-Newsletter for subscribers is here

  • Friday, June 30, 2023 2:19 PM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    “Overbooked,” New Jersey, Kate Dodd

    Remnants Returned to the Public in Beautified Forms: Kate Dodd's Upcycling Installation Project

    Olivia Ann Carye Hallstein

    Kate Dodd fights waste with ideas manifested into public installations. Whether the work is discarded paper and books transformed into interactive and dynamic biomimicking structures or additions to natural environments, it is community-oriented. Through subtle metaphor, she challenges her audience to open their perspective on both their surroundings and histories. Her work is currently exhibited at the Bay Ridge public art exhibition in Brooklyn, NYC until the 11th of July.

    “Through an Ecological Lens”, Bay Ridge, 73rd Street Public Library, Brooklyn, NYC, Kate Dodd

    Kate, I admire your resourcefulness. When I see the materials that you use in your work, I think of the remnants of processed natural materials that are integrated into urban landscapes (books, packaging, etc). What is it about the materials you choose and how people interact with waste materials that influence your practice most?

    I have always had a tremendous fascination with materials and making. So when I see materials being disposed of without much thought, whether in the trash stream or as individual bits of litter, I see both treasure and mistreatment, and feel an immediate need to resurrect the neglected and disrespected. These resurrections stand as a metaphor for people as well, but this is much easier to do with discarded materials. I want people to see their surroundings more fully and to sensitize them to their actions and relationships with both humans and materials.

    I choose to work with paper based products, as opposed to plastic. This is something I have been learning about the last few years.  As indestructible as plastic is, it is highly decay-able, which presents certain problems when using this material outdoors. Paper, on the other hand, is an instant indoor material, and infinitely flexible.

    “Through an Ecological Lens,” Bay Ridge, 73rd Street Public Library, Brooklyn, NYC, Kate Dodd

    Like the paper installation in Bay Ridge where you integrate the local community into your process of creative development. What has been most rewarding and challenging about working with the community your work is serving?

    Diversity of interactions and reactions, getting to understand a community more intimately, breaking down my own cynicism about the possibility of people working together, have been some of the top benefits. When you work with a community, you get to be a part of it, and feeling part of a community is a joyous thing. Working with a specific landscape - in this case, a community of trees - brings similar joy on every level.

    As far as challenges go, communicating with a wide array of people is complicated. It can be hard to know who to reach out to, how to motivate people to respond, and accepting interpretations of directions that are different from your own interpretations. These are the same concerns that come with many jobs.

    “Through an Ecological Lens,” Bay Ridge, 73rd Street Public Library, Brooklyn, NYC, Kate Dodd

    And you seem to account for ideas and perspectives through creative writing as both content and tool. What effect are you able to achieve when using text as a structural visual format?

    The text I incorporate is often “factual”, content from reference materials, or former sources of “truth”. I’m interested in how much reference sources reveal about the cultural context of their time, often in striking contrast to contemporary understanding of the same issues.  We question how much we value information when the information is revealed to be biased at best.

    “Before Brick City,” cut paper installation, 800’ long commercial window space, Kate Dodd

    So, you use text-as-structure to serve the purpose of revealing untold stories. One way you do this through the installation in Bay Ridge is by building books for visitors to interact with. What are you mindful of when choosing what to share and how?

    I often look for words or phrases that reveal contradictions or open holes between my experience and the experience being presented in the text. Because the text I incorporate is often out of order or missing words, the remaining text allows for innuendo, assumption, and hybrid concepts. The use of text also reflects themes of internal thought and experience that each individual gathers, stores, digests, transforms, and then might put back into the world as a consumer of written content. I like leaving room in the gaps for the reader to fill.  Like a mad lib in a way.

    “Free Verse,”,10’ x 20’ x 20’, printed vinyl on cut polycarbonate, Redwood City Public Library Children’s Room, Kate Dodd

    I used to love mad libs! It is inspiring how you are using these implied metaphors. What struck me in a description of another found-object installation (Boxes & boxes) is your description: “building with these materials adds to my understanding of evolution; many small parts that are propelled by some sort of life force to combine and grow. I think of each installation as a landscape, or an ecosystem, each material with a specific role to play.”  What role do ecological themes play in your upcycling process?

    I seem to perpetually try to create the illusion of life and movement with inanimate objects.  The beauty that is basic to movement is missing in objects. Some part of me always wants to redeem these "dumb",  but innocent objects and lift them into a more beautiful and dynamic place. 

    I also see the illusion of movement as an indicator of the unavoidable presence and future impact of producing so much waste.  When I can create these illusions out of disposable products, it’s an attempt to control the uncontrollable, to orchestrate or redirect the impending disaster of accumulated waste that I’m constantly aware of. 

    “Flotation Device Series,” Seagull Rock, Kate Dodd

    And waste is not only an urban problem! Your practice approaches this through public art installations and interventions in more rural natural environments (ex. Flotation device series, Ebb & Flow: Claim it). How does your process change when working creating “landscapes” in urban environments versus exploring the human-hand in natural environments? Does your audience approach your work differently?

    Generally speaking, people are more protective and less welcoming of interventions in non-urban settings. While I'm not aware of approaching my audience differently, one of the main things that seems to impact the reception of my work is the audience’s sense of territoriality and familiarity. If the site I’m working with has less visible human interaction, aka what we think of as nature, then I may get a more visceral, and negative reaction. The other inhabitants of that space have a more fixed idea of what a disruption looks like, even though they themselves may be having greater impact on the given site than my artwork does. In some ways, city dwellers are used to having public institutions, such as libraries and parks, host a variety of interventions. And in urban settings, where there is often a tremendous amount going on,  viewers might feel more free to ignore you, or see public space as less pure than nature, so new things are absorbed more readily.

    "False Spring," 10’ x 16’ x 11’, plastic bottles, plastic netting, Baird Community Center, South Orange, New Jersey, Kate Dodd

    Thank you, Kate!

  • Tuesday, June 27, 2023 10:25 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Moraine/Terminal outdoor classroom for “Over the Levee, Under the Plow,” a mobile seminar co-organized by Nicholas Brown, Ryan Griffis and Sarah Kanouse. Gathering space features banners by Dylan A.T. Miner (Metis) and a desk and library by Jon Lund, 2019.

    Notes on Art and Spatial Justice

    What does spatial justice look like, affirmatively - not just as the absence of injustice?

    by Sarah Kanouse

    This question has been ever-present for me in the past year as I’ve been on sabbatical, freed from the daily academic tasks of teaching and service to reflect on past work and plant new creative seeds. I’ve also facilitated a reading group on the concept of spatial justice for faculty across art, architecture, and law whose guiding principle has been this implicit question. It asks for a grounded definition of spatial justice, one rooted in practice as well as theory, in vision as well as critique. It asks for a utopian mode, one that academics are generally disinclined to indulge. Our reading group usually demurred from offering an affirmative vision of justice, preferring to sculpt in relief – chiseling out the injustice – rather than build with clay, shaping the moist, resistant stuff of the world into something between vision, affordance, and capability. I use these sculptural metaphors intentionally: a year’s worth of meetings on spatial justice has convinced me that art has a lot to offer in both envisioning and pursuing spatial justice. 

    The concept of spatial justice has intellectual roots in a particular academic tradition: Marxism as adopted since the 1960s by mostly British and American academic geographers trying to make sense of the radically “uneven development” (to borrow the title from Neil Smith’s influential book) evident in both the cities of the metropole and between the metropole and its (post-) colonies under conditions of “late” capitalism. A younger generation of Indigenous activist geographers have both used and critiqued this tradition to speak to the settler colonial dimensions of capitalist spatiality, but academic conversations around spatial justice remain boxed in by what anthropologist Elizabeth Povinelli calls “settler liberalism:” the seemingly transparent and rules-based system of settler sovereignty whose asymmetrically violent outcomes can only be critiqued and/or ameliorated, but never in ways that challenge that sovereignty. However, the foundational injustice of the Anglophone settler colonies stems from the unjust occupation and expropriation of land–an occupation underwritten by the presence of non-Native people, including those who may themselves be oppressed, exploited, or historically denied personhood to begin with. True spatial justice–including for those whose very presence sustains the system which exploits us–cannot be achieved without the restoration of governance by enduring Indigenous principles, with the leadership of Indigenous people. 

    Beyond such general statements, a decolonial vision of spatial justice is hard to articulate and even harder to achieve. Five hundred years of colonization cannot be simply rolled back like a soiled carpet to reveal an intact “Indigenous system of governance” ready for a quick sand-and-polish. Such a unified system never existed – and wanting to implement one “at scale” may be just another way of “seeing like a [settler]” state,” to channel James C. Scott. Moreover, settler colonialism and racial capitalism are world-making and subject-making enterprises: there is no outside, or above, or below. They have done such incalculable and intentional damage to the existence of other ways of feeling, sensing, thinking, and being that many of the concepts available to organize against them are entangled to some degree. But because they are encoded, however ambivalently, in who we understand ourselves to be, the tools by which subjectivity is sculpted and expressed–art, music, literature, ritual–are indispensable to both the articulation and pursuit of spatial justice.

    “Beyond Property” prompt cards and artists book by Sarah Kanouse for “Over the Levee, Under the Plow: an experiential curriculum, co-organized by Kanouse and Ryan Griffis, 2019-2021.

    Subjectivity in the Western liberal tradition is structured around the various forms of property that arose with the modern era and are entangled with the origins of capitalism. As a primary means of mediating social relations, property divides the world into subjects and objects: subjects who have rights and objects that (largely) do not. Historically, those classified as legal or potential property - enslaved African and Native people–formed the constitutive outside of the liberal subject and, indeed, of humanity itself. The liberal subject’s political rights were initially contingent on holding property in land; later, this proprietary requirement expanded to include “property in oneself” (e.g. not being indentured or enslaved or, for many centuries, female). Enforcing private property regimes on Indigenous territory served both as a mechanism of land seizure and means of assimilation, and adopting individual ownership models (or pretending to) was at various moments a precondition for the limited forms of political recognition extended by the liberal state. Yet even though chattel slavery and Native dispossession are rightly decried by today’s adherents to the liberal political tradition, political and subjectivity is still expressed and often experienced as what C.B. McPherson classically termed “possessive individualism.” The individual artist developing a signature style that both differentiates and unifies their work to appeal to collectors exemplifies the operations of proprietary individualism in the arts. However, the model is capacious enough to include artists (like myself) differentiated as much by the critical insights we offer as the objects we produce. Under settler liberalism, property–in its many and shifting forms–has become the relation that structures all other relations, the primary means of self- and community actualization, the dominant way of relating to self and world.

    Holding liberalism to its aspirational values has helped to move ever more entities from the ‘object’ to the ‘subject’ side of the ledger, and increasingly immaterial forms of “proprietary interest” allow newly acknowledged subjects to exercise agency, as the “rights of nature” movement is attempting to do. For an Indigenous tribe to successfully sue for the return of land lost through treaty abrogation, for a Black family dispossessed by urban renewal to receive compensation, for a court to recognize a river’s possessive interest in remaining unpolluted–these are stunning victories for spatial justice within the paradigm of the liberal settler state. And yet they also shore up property and proprietary liberalism as solutions to the problems they created, a colonial tautology that gets us ever further from the vision of the settler state’s eventual replacement with a system of governance based on enduring Indigenous principles, under the leadership of Indigenous people.

    Such a vision cannot be crafted only by artists, particularly artists as recognized within settler liberalism. But we are skilled in crafting aesthetic experiences where recognition and, alternatively, disidentification are possible. By making public our efforts to disentangle from proprietary subjectivity–particularly through relational accountability and active engagement with Indigenous leadership–we can contribute to a broader cultural shift. Moreover, my conversations with social-justice academics and movement-based activists over the last year have convinced me that art and artists have something to offer beyond the vague (if essential) work of “imagining otherwise” or “shifting the narrative.” By both training and orientation, we understand that tools shape both process and outcome: they make worlds while meeting goals. This insight is as true for the tools of law, activism, and policy as it is for more conventional creative tools. Thinking both reflexively and improvisationally about methods allows us to respond to the world that our actions are shaping, not just to the one we seek to replace. 

    Some of the most visionary and effective projects advancing decolonial visions of spatial justice have been developed as community-focused collaborations involving lawyers, activists, artists and culture bearers. Programs, like the Oakland, CA-based Shuumi, ask non-Indigenous people to pay a voluntary “tax” to Indigenous-led organizations as a means of recognizing Native sovereignty and building capacity for land rematriation. Although legible within the settler-colonial framework of property taxes, the contributions also reflect the payment of tribute as a form of sovereign recognition, as practiced by many tribes prior to colonization. At least a half-dozen similar programs have launched across the United States. New community land trusts are forming that return land to Indigenous control while also meeting the needs of diverse communities for food and housing. Recognizing that Indigenous stewardship is the most effective means of environmental protection, property owners are donating land to Native-led land trusts at ever-greater numbers; such transfers are an opportunity to write into the title deed language acknowledging the colonial dimensions of ownership while taking them off the speculative real estate market forever. Other individuals and nonprofits are creatively using the “easements” of settler property law to permanently safeguard Indigenous stewardship and access to culturally significant landscapes. In Washington, a new spirit easement campaign asks property owners to permanently codify a welcome to the spirits of Indigenous Methow ancestors with the Registrar of Deeds. While this particular easement appears largely symbolic, it reflects a broader collective effort to sustain other ways of living in and with the land, incommensurable with Western cosmology. These and other efforts may not “look like” art in the traditional sense (indeed, they might look more like a title search), but they get us involved in the messy, halting, uncertain work of aligning the systems that govern of our lives with a broader, decolonial vision of justice.

    “Ecologies of Acknowledgment” letterpress print with text by Nicholas Brown, Sarah Kanouse and Elizabeth Solomon (Massachusetts), printed at Huskiana Press by David Medina, 2019.

    Click images for more information

  • Monday, June 26, 2023 8:36 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    June 26, 2023

    This week we recognize Kellie Bornhoft  Kellie Bornhoft, and her multimedia work exploring climate change and its effects on the natural environment.

    From Here to There as Place (Readings from Alexander Wilson), 2015(above)is a single channel video recorded from the inside of a car driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Tennessee and North Carolina. This work layers footage taken from multiple passenger. Some of the clips are reversed and the duration is altered. During the drive the narrator reads sections from Alexander Wilson's book "The Culture of Nature" that reference the controversial construction of the road. 

     click images for more info

    Burnishings, 2018-ongoing (above) is a series of drawings made with forest fire burned bark as charcoal. The process involves visiting public lands scarred by fire and collecting small bits of charcoal. As Bornhoft travels to any public land thereafter, she identifies native species of trees and rubs the found charcoal across the paper placed up against the tree’s bark. The work is about reciprocity and touch in spaces otherwise driven by narratives of preservation and “leave no trace”. The work seeks intimacy and tangibility with the hopes of fertilizing and caring for native species in these spaces. Dust and bits of charcoal drop to the base of the tree as a sort of good-will offering. As the “public” stewarding these lands, she is curious about individual responsibility within one’s environment and rejecting estranged colonial ideologies.

    Shifting Landscapes: Static Bounds (above), published in 2019, is a field guide that brings into question what it means to preserve a landscape for “the enjoyment of future generations,” when climactic forecasts predict that those generations will be fighting just to survive on this melting planet. The two notions cannot coincide in one narrative. Public lands drew Bornhoft in because of the myths imposed on them: myths of preserving an inhuman wilderness, myths of innocence in the histories of their conquering, and myths of their stability amidst a warming planet. The book accumulates field notes, images, and a de-territorialized mapping system to locate the reader within the traversed time and space.

    By a Thread, 2023 (above) is a celebration of the Endangered Species Act, the most effective environmental legislation for the past 50 years. Though few animals have been delisted, most species avoided extinction because of the legal protection. This collection of drawn plants and animals depicts every species ever federally listed as endangered under the ESA that resides or resided within a 30-mile radius of my studio on the unceded territory of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Viewers are invited to gently sift through and touch the banners. The accompanying guide can assist in identifying species throughout the installation. The photographs referenced for the illustrations are sourced from the Creative Commons and often taken by citizen scientists. This guide credits the source image photographers with gratitude. The ESA has a history of embracing citizen science by allowing anyone to petition to list a species to the Fish and Wildlife Service. The illustrations were returned to the Creative Commons to increase accessibility and aid further study.

    Bornhoft's most recent installation titled Tremors, 2023 (below) presented six speakers buried beneath one ton of sand, which amplifies a live seismic activity. Using an open-source ObsPy code and a Max patcher, the work synthesizes local seismic data into a sound wave that spatially varies between the six speakers. Viewers are invited to traverse the mound to feel the low grumbling vibrations of magnified Earth movements. Small porcelain rocks are mixed into the locally sourced sand. Installed with the work is a two-channel video. As a chance-operation poem, words borrowed from geology texts loop on each monitor at differing speeds to create an endless cycle of combinations. The intention is to bridge one’s understanding of how their presence on this moving-shaking planet is in flux—that the ground we think is static shifts beneath our feet. 

    Kellie Bornhoft's (she/her) practice seeks tangible and poetic narratives needed in an ever-warming climate. Bornhoft utilizes sculpture, installation and video to delve into the whelms and quotidian experiences of our precarious times. Scientific data and news headlines do plenty to evince the state of our warming planet, but the abject realities of such facts are hard to possess. Through geological and more-than-human lenses, Bornhoft sifts through shallow dichotomies (such as natural/unnatural, here/there, or animate/inanimate.) Bornhoft is currently working in the Bay Area of California. She holds a MFA in Sculpture + Expanded Media from Ohio State University and a BFA from Watkins College of Art and Design. Bornhoft’s work has been exhibited internationally in museums, galleries and film festivals such as the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina, Kulturanker in Magdeburg, Germany, and the Athens International Film and Video Festival. Bornhoft’s work has been reviewed in many publications including Frieze Magazine, Burnaway, INDYweek and ArtsATL.

    Featured images (top to bottom):©Kellie Bornhoft, From Here to There as Place (Readings from Alexander Wilson), 2015,single channel video, 4 min 31 sec; Burnishings, 2018-Ongoing, charcoal on paper, 200+ 11” x 14” drawings, dimensions variable (about 20’ x 9’ in the depicted installation); Boundless Sediments, 2020-2021, Two-Channel video, 11:53, plaster, TVs, speakers, wood, foam, and pigment; By a Thread, 2023, digital print on voile fabric, wood, 3D printed hardware; Tremors, 2023, speakers, amplifier, monitors, sand, porcelain, Python/ObsPy code, Max patcher, and cables; Portrait or Artist.


  • Monday, June 19, 2023 8:50 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    June 19, 2023

    This week we recognize   Anne Krinsky   Anne Krinsky based in London, whose art practice, after twenty-five years turned to investigations of natural and man-made environments in 2017, created from archival and geographical research.

    “Tide Line Thames,” 2016 (above) was a two-year project supported by Arts Council England, investigating the shifting riverscape and its architectural structures between high and low tide lines. The Thames in London, contained by high river walls, has a tidal range of up to seven metres. Krinsky exhibited the project's first phase of photographs, paintings, digital scrolls and projections at Thames-Side Studios Gallery, for Totally Thames.”

     click images for more info

    “Tropical Thames,” 2017 (above) was an installation of eight large-scale digital prints on Dibond Aluminium panels, and was inspired by Thames architectural structures in southeast London– docks, piers and river walls shaped by centuries of shipping and trade. "Tropical Thames" also responded to the Garden's dramatic roof structure, designed by Foster and Partners, and to its plantings, some of which were species that first entered Britain through Thames docks. Designing the installation involved some time travel, to London’s trading past and to its potential future. In making this work, Krinsky thought about the urgent issue of climate change and the effects of rising temperatures and sea levels on the tidal river.

    Krinsky created “The Ephemera Scrolls,” 2019 (above) in St. Augustine’s Tower in the London Borough of Hackney for the show Reading Stones. Artists were invited to make works in response to the history and architecture of Hackney’s oldest building, a 13th century clocktower. Through their respective interests in the land, the body and the cosmos, they explored relationships between time and materiality, on four floors of the Tower. Krinsky incorporated ten photographs she had taken of the River Naab in Bavaria in 2019, during the hottest June on record, part of her project documenting vulnerable wetlands and climate change.

    “Anne Krinsky: Wetlands/Shifting Shorelines,” 2021-2022 (above) was an outdoor print exhibition inspired by vulnerable South Coast wetlands she photographed in 2020 and 2021. It was on view for six months at The Seafront Gallery on Worthing’s Promenade. Krinsky worked with projection, photography and digital print to design this series of 16 prints, in a range of river and coastal locations including Lymington, Keyhaven and Chichester, Pagham and Portsmouth harbors. Krinsky stated "It’s heartbreaking to see the overgrowth of algae, from agricultural runoff and dumping of sewage, that is engulfing South Coast wetlands." Information panels about Bird Aware Solent, The Solent Oyster Restoration Project and The Sussex Kelp Restoration Project were presented.

    In November and December of 2022, Krinsky was a Visiting Artist-in-Residence at 18th Street Art Center in Santa Monica, where she undertook a period of research investigating the wetlands on the Los Angeles River Corridor and the Southern California Coast. A concrete channel built by the Army Corp of Engineers in 1938, confined the Los Angeles River for flood control, which chuted the water to the Pacific Ocean and wasting it for any ecological or agricultural purpose along the way. The river is flanked by highways, warehouses and railways and the anthrophonic sounds surrounding it are jarring. Krinksy made a series of video clips to document this urban interface with nature.

    Anne Krinsky  is a London-based artist, born in the United States. In her practice she combines painting, print, photography and projection with archival and geographical research, to investigate overlooked structures in natural and man-made environments. Krinsky is fascinated by the passage of time and the ephemeral nature of the physical world. She exhibited her first project with a UK archive, From Absorb to Zoom: An Alphabet of Actions in the Women’s Art Library, at Goldsmiths University of London in 2015. Since then, she has made mutliple installations in response to archived collections in the United States, United Kingdom and India. Anne Krinsky is the recipient of multiple grants, including an Artists International Development Fund Grant, Arts Council England Developing Your Creative Practice Grant, two Artist Bursaries from a-n The Artists Information Company and two Arts Council England Grants for the Arts. The British Museum, Boston Public Library, American collector Graham Gund and Paintings in Hospitals England, have purchased her works, as have numerous corporate and private collectors on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Featured images (top to bottom):©Anne Krinsky, Tide Line Thames 2016, River Walls, acrylic & collage on aluminum panels, 135 x 100 cm / 53 x 39 inches; Tropical Thames 2017, Sea Change / Seeing Double, Digital Prints on Dibond Aluminium. Tropical Thames in Crossrail Place Roof Garden, Canary Wharf, London; The Ephemera Scrolls 2019, St. Augustine’s Tower Hackney, London, 10 Archival Digital Prints on Platinum Etching Paper. Each scroll: 200 x 60 cm / 79 x 24 inches; Wetlands/ Shifting Shorelines 2021-2022, Worthing Seafront Gallery UK, Sea Kale 1, Digital Print on Dibond Aluminium Panel, 90 x 90 cm / 35.5 x 35.5 inches; Los Angeles Wetlands, video clips taken during Artist in Residence at 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, California, fall 2022; Artist Portrait.

  • Tuesday, June 13, 2023 8:29 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)

    Can Art Change Attitudes Toward Climate Change?

    A study found that people who viewed climate data in the form of an artwork were less likely to lean on their preconceived notions.

    Avatar photo Elaine Velie 17 hours ago via Hyperallergic

    A new study found that using art to convey environmental data eased political perceptions about climate change. As wildfires rage in Canada and New York City recovers from a week of smoke, the study’s findings could help scientists more effectively communicate their research at a pivotal point in the future of the planet.

    Nan Li, Isabel I. Villanueva, Thomas Jilk, and Dominique Brossard of the University of Wisconsinand Brianna Rae Van Matre of the nonprofit EcoAgriculture Partners conducted the research, published May 31 in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. Li conceptualized the project two years ago when she heard artist Diane Burko speak during a webinar; the artist, whose practice centers on climate change, was pondering the real-world impact of her work.

    Burko depicts the consequences of Earth’s warming atmosphere, such as melting glaciers and disappearing coral reefs, and often accompanies them with scientific maps and charts. Li and her colleague Dominique Brossard developed a study to answer Burko’s question — how does the artist’s work affect its viewers? The team chose Burko’s 2020 mixed-media work “SUMMER HEAT, I and II.” The graph at the lower left depicts the Keeling Curve, a visualization of the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1958. The blue represents melting glaciers, and the red figure is Europe, which suffered an intense heat wave in 2020 when Burko created the work.

    continue reading here

  • Monday, June 12, 2023 9:46 AM | ecoartspace (Administrator)


    June 12, 2023

    This week we recognize  Aline Mare, and her early performance art, film, photography and current multimedia works exploring organic interpretations of nature and the human experience.

    In the early days of her art practice Mare did a series of performance art pieces, dealing with the psyche of the female body. In these works she used a variety of mediums such as multimedia film, video and slide performances and installations. These works were shown in New York City, San Francisco, and Europe. The image above is of one of these performances titled “I will be,” a solo performance at P space in San Francisco in 1991.

     click images for more info

    “S’aline’s Solution” 1991 is a video Mare made many years ago, when she was 40 years old, as a testament to the painful yet powerful right of women to choose. She wanted to find a voice for the pain, an acknowledgment of the courage involved in choosing to have an abortion- a voice she felt had been silenced in our culture. The saline procedure is induced at the end of the first trimester with a local anesthesia of 200 milligrams of hypertonic saline solution. It is a fairly traumatic birthing process which includes dilation, contractions and a chemically induced early labor. It is an especially difficult procedure, an experience which she understood first hand. The video was greeted with much controversy. Many women felt Mare had played into the hands of the Right, appropriating “Back to Life'' imagery and humanizing the embryo. However she believes the piece stands up on its own as an emblematic statement about an issue that remains central and vital in these dangerous times: a woman’s right to choose.

    “A series of large fragmented images of young boys (Beautiful Boys 2006-2007, above)  on the cusp of manhood, inspired by the fleeting beauty of my own son and his circle of friends in their thirteenth year. They are shot as they float on a bed of water, their spontaneity and vulnerability exposed in a moment of unconscious beauty.”

    “Requiem: Aching for Acker” 2018 (below) is a body of work that was directly inspired by Requiem, the last piece of writing by counterculture writer Kathy Acker, a friend of hers – on and off – for decades. It was published as the final part of an opera,Eurydice in the Underworld, by Arcadia Books in London in 1997. A risk-taker and literary outlaw, Acker was a hybrid of punk, postmodernism, feminism, and critical theory in her public identity as well as in her literary works. She died of breast cancer on November 30, 1997 at the age of 53, after a double mastectomy and turning her back on Western medicine. Mare was deeply moved to be a close friend to her in her final days. InRequiem: Aching for Acker, she was looking for a vision to match the feelings: the loss and the power she felt reading her last published book. Something that would remind the world of her power as a creative female force of nature – her self-mythologizing as a form of empowerment and vulnerability. To marry the past and the present in an evocative body of work that speaks to the universality of the path we must all take: the path to the underworld.”

    Most recently Mare has created different collections of artworks of which she calls "Psychic Landscapes." In these works she explores a variety of different themes, some of which connect to ideas seen in her earlier works considering the human body. She has also moved into exploring elements of the natural world in a series titled "Cacophony of Change: Extreme Conditions," that deals with storm water basins in the extreme climate conditions in Southern California after record-setting rainfall in the last year. One example is HA (at Hahamongna Watershed), 2023 (below), from her most recent series “Dangerous Landscapes” that synthesizes her own history with natural cycles of the earth.

    Aline Mare began her career in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, coming out of a background of theatre, experimental film, and installation art. She was an early member of Collaborative Projects, a collective formed in downtown New York City and performed in a multi-media partnership called Erotic Psyche. She completed undergraduate work at SUNY Buffalo’s Center for Media Studies and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute, where she produced the film Saline’s Solution, a series of installations and performances that dealt with abortion from a feminist point of view, which garnered support and awards internationally, exhibiting at The Cinematheque in SF, The Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. She has received several grants and residencies including Fourwinds in Aureille, France, a 2015 Sino-American art tour in Shanghai, Starry Nights in New Mexico, Headlands Center for the Arts, Kala, Film Arts Foundation, New Langton Arts in SF and a New York State Residency for the Arts.  She continues to expand her work, concentrating on mixed media and installation, exploring the body and metaphors of nature and its transformative relationship to the human psyche and the state of our planet. New works have been exhibited locally and internationally.

    Featured images (top to bottom): ©Aline Mare, I will be, 1991, solo performance at P Space, San Francisco; S’aline’s Solution, 1991, 9 minutes VHS on DVD; from series Beautiful Boys 2006-2007, video and photo-based images; Requiem: Aching for Acker, 2018, bloody glove mixed media on archival board, presented at Beyond Baroque, Mike Kelly Gallery, Los Angeles, California; HA (at Hahamongna Watershed), 2023, mounted mixed media, with mica and bees wax, 24 x 36 inches; Portrait of artist by husband Gary Brewer.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software