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“Art and Ecology: In the Spirit of the Suffragettes” Mycelial tiles workshop with Mae-ling Lokko
October 2, 2021 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EDT
Watch the event recording here.
Mae-ling will be offering a virtual overview of her work with mycelia from 10:00-10:30am. Her brief presentation will be followed by a small number of participants at NATURE Lab who will engage in a hands-on workshop creating the mycelial tiles. This workshop is part of Art and Ecology: In the Spirit of the Suffragettes, funded by National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works.”
Mae-ling Lokko is an architectural scientist and biomaterials technology researcher from Ghana and the Philippines whose work centers on the upcycling of agrowaste and biopolymer materials. Her research integrates a broad range of criteria that questions contemporary material-value systems to evolve life cycle design to meet generative justice criteria.
Lokko teaches seminars and design studios on energy and ecology in relation to the built environment, upcycling and ecoeffective material life cycle design. Lokko holds a Ph.D. and Masters of Science in Architectural Science from the Center from Architecture, Science and Ecology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and B.A from Tufts University.
For more information: maelokko.com
A Deeper View of the Mycelial Tiles Workshop
The exquisite tiles created from this workshop will adorn the wall of the People’s Health Sanctuary in NATURE Lab. While adding aesthetic beauty to the space, they offer deeper metaphor of connection at the People’s Health Santuary, NATURE Lab and the Sanctuary.
“As we move forward in an unknown future, we can learn so much from the invisible organisms that create the foundation of our living world! The mycelial tiles we create will be a constant reminder for us of the power of the community when it works together.”
Board member Aileen Javier
What can we learn from mycelium?– A mycelium is the bulk of the fungi organism, growing a mass of threads and fibrous networks underground. While we see the mushroom (which is the fruiting body of the fungi), mycelium create massive networks underground, which are used to allow communication and resource sharing throughout the forest. Like mycelium, we are also social creatures, forming networks and connections that can allow us to communicate and help each other.
How do networks strengthen communities?– The pandemic has brought up more and more to the surface that in order to have a sustainable society we must go back to a community-based participatory approach; we are seeing more networks forming and collaborating to help each other (like the mycelium).
Individuals as part of those networks? – Metaphorically, Individuals are like the branches of the mycelium, stepping up and helping each other bringing up their strengths. While our culture highlights some individuals and creates hierarchies of importance, we can learn from mycelium that the underground, invisible work that so many individuals do is what creates the strength of our networks.
Art & Ecology: In the Spirit of the Suffragettes, supported by National Endowment of the Arts “Art Works.”
This workshop is part of Art and Ecology: In the Spirit of the Suffragettes, funded by National Endowment for the Arts “Art Works.” We highlight the work of three exceptional women artists who represent a diversity of races and cultures:
Mae-Ling Lokko, an artist and architect who lives between Ghana and U.S., focuses on upcycling. She transforms materials considered waste into building materials. Lokko will work with community to create a public art sculpture.
Tiare Ribeaux will focus on creation of bio-plastics and biodegradable materials for art projects, potentially culminating in a site-specific installation that can be reabsorbed into the environment, and creating bioplastic tiles which share participants’ hopes and dreams for a sustainable future
Minerva Hernández is a Mexican artist who combines art, science and technology to realize interdisciplinary formations which include dance, cinematography and photography. Her innovative observations of biodiversity, as well as experience with arts collectives, offer opportunity to collaborate with local community to realize a site specific installation for our local ecology.
These residencies inaugurate our new NATURE Lab Urban Environmental Arts & Education Center at the northern tip of the Hudson River Estuary. Through intersections of art, science and social practice, each artist will develop a project to advance research, produce creative content, and help our surrounding community.
Positioning the suffragettes as important role models to explore the devastating effects of gender, racial and economic bias on our biodiversity and ecosystems, the artists offer creative calls to action for ecological justice and survival of Mother Earth. Our goal is to bring history alive through the trans-disciplinary field of bio-art. Integrating art and biology, installation and multimedia, visual arts and performance, these new forms of artistic expression pose ethical, social and philosophical questions about our rapidly changing ecosystem.
Women artists and artists of color continue to face pervasive under-representation in museums and galleries. This project is in protest of this discrimination–even the new field of bio-arts is male-dominated. We will showcase world-class artists who demonstrate the present-day creative power of women working together to overcome great odds. The century-old suffragette message needs to be heard: women bear the brunt of economic inequality and ecological devastation. These residencies give voice to inequities, and our struggle for the environmental health of our community and wide world.