Ruderal Ecologies 2
October 22, 2021 @ 8:00 am – October 24, 2021 @ 5:00 pm EDT
The Ruderal Ecologies 2 virtual conference builds upon the 2018 Ruderal Ecologies: Grounds for Change conference, which brought together thought leaders in art, science, and environmental justice to explore the history and future of urban environments shaped by stress. “Ruderal,” from the Latin rudus (rubble), refers to plant species that are first to repopulate disturbed lands, an apt analogy for the state of our post-industrial neighborhoods. It is through this lens that we will envision our futures. Ruderal Ecologies 2 conference is a collaboration between the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, ARTS and STS departments, NATURE Lab and The Sanctuary for Independent Media, and the iEAR Presents series, supported by in part by a Humanities New York SHARP Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and the New York State Council for the Arts/NYSCA.
We will host the Ruderal Ecologies 2 conference virtually with the ARTS and STS departments and The Sanctuary for Independent Media, based in North Central Troy, one of the most economically and ecologically devastated neighborhoods in New York State. As our communities deal with these urban challenges, it is vital to approach problems from a humanistic standpoint: understanding the history, urban ecologies and philosophies that left us with toxic water, soil and air so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Ruderal Ecologies 2 will once again bring together cutting-edge artists, social scientists, scholars, and activists learning and working beyond the barriers of any one discipline, and this time our work will be all-virtual, making it possible to present thinkers and host virtual audiences from all over the globe. Reflecting our commitment to curating a feminist framework into this conference, the majority of our presenters are women or gender non-conforming. We have also invited Indigenous authors, artists, and speakers, with the intention of embedding a variety of Indigenous ways of thinking, storytelling, and expression into conversations about our urban futures.
NATURE Lab, a project of The Sanctuary for Independent Media, is one block from the Hudson River at the beginning of the Erie Canal. Our Environmental education campus, including Collard City Growers’ garden, the L-Lot sustainable forest, the NATURE Lab Residency Space, and Freedom Square commons offer programming including community workshops, public art installations, artist residencies, research activities, and after school programs. NATURE Lab’s biosafety level 1 community bio laboratory focuses on issues around urban environmental justice and social justice. Upstairs from the laboratory the People’s Health Sanctuary space is being constructed to share health skills, provide basic integrative care and explore ways to build networks of community health.
Ruderal Ecologies 2 virtual conference confirmed presenters include:
Friday night, October 22, 6pm – 9pm EDT:
Dr. Max Liboiron is leader in both developing and promoting anticolonial research methods into a wide array of disciplines and spaces. As founder of CLEAR, an interdisciplinary plastic pollution laboratory whose methods foreground humility and good land relations, Liboiron has influenced national policy on both plastics and Indigenous research, invented technologies and protocols for community monitoring of plastics, and led the development of the interdisciplinary field of discard studies.
Liboiron’s book, Pollution is Colonialism, bridges Science and Technology Studies (STS), Indigenous studies, and discard studies while providing a framework for understanding all research methods as practices that align with or against colonialism. Focusing on plastic pollution, the text models an anticolonial scientific practice associated with Métis concepts of land, ethics, and relations, and demonstrates that anticolonial science is not only possible, but it is currently being practiced. One reviewer for the book wrote that the text “is at the leading edge of a significant turn in STS towards thinking with settler-colonialism as a structure and terrain and contributes significantly as well to thinking about how ethical principles related to lab science and studies of pollution and shorelines. There are exceedingly few texts of this kind that ask, how might we consider relations with land/waters and science – and still practice ‘good’ science?”
Dr. Liboiron is an Associate Professor in Geography and is formerly the Associate Vice-President (Indigenous Research) at Memorial University. Liboiron is Métis/Michif (Woodman via Red River) who grew up in Lac la Biche, Treaty 6 territory. Gender pronouns: they/she. Liboiron is pronounced: Lee-Bwah-rohn. https://maxliboiron.com/
Saturday, October 23 11am – 5pm EDT:
Bettina Stoetzer teaches cultural anthropology at M.I.T. Her research focuses on the intersections of ecology, globalization, and urban social justice. Bettina received her M.A. in Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies from the University of Goettingen and completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology at the University of California Santa Cruz in 2011. Before coming to MIT, she was a Harper Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago. Bettina’s most recent book, Ruderal City: Ecologies of Migration and Urban Life in Berlin (Duke University Press, 2018), draws on fieldwork with immigrant and refugee communities, as well as ecologists, nature enthusiasts and other Berlin residents to illustrate how human-environment relations have become a key register through which urban citizenship is articulated in contemporary Europe. https://culanth.org/fieldsights/rethinking-nature-an-interview-with-bettina-stoetzer
Anna Scime is an internationally exhibited media artist whose latest project, Lake Sturgeons’ Guide for Surviving the Anthropocene, is an experimental work created from nine years of research and fieldwork collaborations with scientists working in biology, geology and ecology. It consists of a feature length nonfiction film, a series of short video essays and a multimedia installation comprised of interrelated pieces. The project examines history, art, culture, and language through an ecological lens pointed at a single species and zooms outward from there. Though varied in material, style and genre, Scime most often experiments with moving-image-based work at the intersection of art, technology and science – addressing topics including the Anthropocene, eco-histories, and the archive. http://www.a–a.org/
Tiare Ribeaux is a kānaka maoli interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker originally from Honolulu and based in the Bay Area. Her work employs storytelling to reveal social and ecological imbalances while imagining more regenerative futures. She explores how both our bodies and the technologies we use are entangled with the environment, and aims to recenter indigenous narratives. She is the co-founder and creative director of B4BEL4B gallery.
She has shown work both nationally and internationally, and has won numerous grants and awards for her artistic leadership including 2 New and Experimental Works Grants from the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and grants from the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Foundation, and the Center for Cultural Innovation, among others. She has given artist guest lectures at conferences and universities, and has worked with Leonardo/ISAST, the de Young Museum, YBCA, and the California Academy of Sciences, among others. She was awarded a web residency with Akademie Schloss Solitude + ZKM in 2019 and selected for the American Arts Incubator in 2017-18 with ZERO1 Arts and Technology Network with the US Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs. http://www.tiareribeaux.com/
Natasha Myers is an anthropologist, artist, and activist living on Dish With One Spoon Lands, in Toronto. She is an associate professor at York University, director of the Plant Studies Collaboratory, founder of the Politics of Evidence Working Group, and co-founder of Toronto’s Technoscience Salon. Her current ethnographic projects speculate on ways of seeding plant/people conspiracies, with investigations spanning the arts and sciences of vegetal sensing and sentience, the politics of gardens, and the enduring colonial violence of restoration ecology. Since 2015 she has been working with dancer and filmmaker Ayelen Liberona on Becoming Sensor, an anticolonial research-creation project that detunes settler common sense to invent protocols for an ungrid-able ecology of the happenings ongoing in the ancient oak savannah lands around Toronto. She is the author of Rendering Life Molecular: Models, Modelers and Excitable Matter (Duke 2015), co-author of Le Ravissement de Darwin: Le langage des plants (Éditions La Découverte 2020) co-editor of the forthcoming Reactivating Elements: Chemistry, Ecology, Practice (Duke, 2022), and co-editor of the forthcoming What is Life? (Das Neue Alphabet, Spector Books, 2021). For more information see http://natashamyers.org
Sunday, October 24 11am – 4pm EDT:
Scott Kellogg, is the Educational Director of the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center, an urban environmental education non-profit in Albany, New York. Radix’s pedagogy applies questions of equity, access, race, and class to the post-industrial urban ecosystem, seeking to create reciprocal and mutualistic relationships between urban youth and the soils, water, air, non-human life, and waste cycles of the city. Scott’s work with Radix is documented in his new book Urban Ecosystem Justice: Strategies for Equitable Sustainability and Ecological Literacy in the City (Routledge, 2021), which explores topics including community-based bioremediation, artificial floating islands, composting justice, and biocultural diversity. Scott holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and teaches in Bard College’s Masters in Environmental Education program. http://radixcenter.org/
WhiteFeather Hunter is a multiple award-winning Canadian artist and scholar working in a research, craft and performance-based transdisciplinary practice. She 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 is a multiple-award winner and grant recipient, holding 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. https://www.whitefeatherhunter.ca/about
Margaretha Haughwout collaborates with humans, and the more-than-human, across technologies and ecologies, to enact possible worlds. Speculative fabulation, intervention, participatory event, walking tour, experimental pedagogy, installation, and biological processes articulate stages of her worlding processes. As an intertwined series of related interventions, she explores Ruderal Witchcraft: a project in collaboration with the artist Oliver Kellhammer that consider of set of practices specific to planetary, weedy natures that work their way at edges and interstices of public and private property, and which are entangled with a range of other human and non-human outcasts of capitalist modernity. Active relationships with weedy, rapidly reproducing species that primarily operate in everyday spaces of disturbance give guerrilla gardeners, activists, artists, witches, and other practitioners concerned with the ongoing threats of the global Capitalocene new spatiotemporal opportunities for anti-capitalist magic, sabotage, and retreat. Haughwout received her MFA from the Digital Art and New Media program at the University of California Santa Cruz, her Permaculture Design Certificate from the Urban Permaculture Institute, and has studied with numerous herbalists including Matthew Wood. https://beforebefore.net/
3:00 – 3:30pm: General Panel Discussion
3:30pm – 4pm: Final Words