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Ellie Irons: Public Fieldwork & Weedy Resistance

November 9, 2017 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Practicing Social-Ecological Art in the (so-called) Anthropocene

In this ArtSci Affair lecture, interdisciplinary artist Ellie Irons explores the practice of socially engaged, environmentally-oriented art in the context of the 6th Mass Extinction, through the lens of her own engagement with weedy plants and urban ecosystems. The talk will trace her transdisciplinary path through early work in environmental science and landscape painting to her current commitment to a form of artistic practice she calls “public fieldwork.” Throughout, Irons will investigate the benefits of open, publicly accessible exchange between the arts and sciences, and between humans and nonhumans. In addition to discussing her personal, research-based work with plant pigments and urban land use patterns, she will also describe the development of collaborative projects like The Next Epoch Seed Library, Weedy Resistance, and The Environmental Performance Agency. In each of these projects Irons and her collaborators investigate the potential of social-ecological art to aid in disrupting damaging human-centered narratives of earth systems, recasting social and ecological justice as integral to contemporary environmentalism. Claiming theconcept of “weediness” as a powerful metaphor for political and cultural resistance, these projects ask how solidarity with the non human, particularly with often overlooked wild urban plants, might help us rethink environmental values under late Capitalism.

This event was made possible by funding from ART.SCI AFFAIR and the Pratt Academic Senate.