New School News

Art, Environment, Action!

Artist and activist Tattfoo Tan leads a workshop on raising urban chickens on
September 27 at 6:30 p.m. Photo courtesy of Tattfoo Tan.

On Thursday, September 27, there will be a chicken loose at Parsons The New School for Design. Perhaps the word “loose” isn’t quite accurate; in fact, as part of a workshop on urban chicken rearing, the poultry performer will be under the watchful eye of artist and activist Tattfoo Tan. The workshop is just one event of Art, Environment, Action! (AEA), the fall exhibition at the Sheila C. Johnson Design Center (SJDC).

Running from September 28 to December 15, AEA will turn Parsons’ Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery into a creative laboratory, bringing together artists, designers, architects, dancers, chefs, and scientists who work at the intersection of art and ecology. Instead of a traditional exhibition, AEA is a series of interactive events happening inside and outside the gallery.

“We see the galleries as spaces in which to think, rather than as venues for display,” says Radhika Subramaniam, director and chief curator of the SJDC and the curator of AEA. “Art, Environment, Action! is about catalyzing a culture of conversation, creative experience, and action. It is co-created by participants and artists.”

The show continues the SJDC’s ongoing commitment to environmental issues: Past exhibitions include Living Concrete/Carrot City (fall 2010), which focused on urban agriculture and food systems, and U-n-f-o-l-d (fall 2011), a collection of artist responses’ to climate change.

The following are some events presented as part of AEA:

  • Jerome Waag, co-chef at famed Berkeley restaurant Chez Panisse and a founder of the art/food collective OPENrestaurant, takes attendees on a culinary exploration of cod and discusses the ecology of the Atlantic Ocean. This event includes a food-gathering safari and a cooking class (November 28 and 29).
  • Members of Futurefarmers, an artist-activist collective founded by Amy Franceschini, lead an ethnobotanical examination of New York City. This event features an architectural workshop run in collaboration with Columbia University’s urban research lab, Studio-X (October 1 – 14).
  • Artist and activist Tattfoo Tan will lead workshops on raising urban chickens and making paper from junk mail (September 27, October 30, and November 14)
  • Interdisciplinary artist Beatriz da Costa and her collaborators develop, during a two-week residency, an Anti-Cancer Survival Kit incorporating print, online, and smartphone resources as well as physical objects for people living with cancer, their families, and friends. Da Costa also leads anti-cancer cooking and gardening workshops (October 22 – November 3).
  • Dance and design finds expression in two site-specific projects: Jill Sigman/thinkdance will construct and perform within a structure made out of discarded plastic bottles collected around the New School campus (November 28 – December 15). Choreographer Jennifer Monson and architect Kate Cahill will lead an exploration of the Jamaica Bay wildlife refuge through movement and other means (November 10).
  • Members of the collective Ecoarttech use their mobile app Indeterminate Hikes+ to guide participants on urban expeditions of the New School neighborhood (October 15 – 19), and artist Stephanie Rothenberg leads a walking tour of the Bronx using mobile devices that create augmented realities (November 29 and December 1).
  • Members of the alternative barter-for-knowledge collective Trade School will be in residence throughout the month of October offering a range of workshops and classes (September 28 – October 28).
  • Activists from Red76 lead workshop participants to re-imagine new platforms for advocacy through music, Internet radio broadcasts, and other collaborative action(November 7 and 8).
  • We invite illustrators and graphic designers to join Michael Mandiberg to create images and illustrations for environmentally oriented Wikipedia pages (October 29, November 1, and November 5) or work with the Beehive Design Collective to explore the complex history of mountaintop removal coal and learn to creative graphic stories collaboratively (December 5 – 6).
  • Members of The Cotard Syndicate administer a series of perceptual tests that examine participants’ relationships to the natural world (November 17), and eco-artist Beverly Naidus shares her art-based approaches to exploring the ecology of a city block (November 26 – 27).

Visit the SJDC website for a full list of events and to sign up.

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