For this year's PPEH Ecotopian Toolkit, each selected participant will produce projects that engage floating on/ sinking in/ and otherwise living with urban waters; and explore what it might mean to face contemporary ecological challenges with critically attuned and creatively oriented tools.
Over the last two weeks, we announced the five 2018 Ecotopian Toolkit artists and teams, and began introducing the Toolkit recipients and share glimpses of their work ahead of the expanded launch of their projects over the next several months. Here's more on the final two participants:
Beth Uzwiak and Anastasia Hudgins, "Monsters of the Deep, Myths for the Future"
Beth Uzwiak is an ethnographer, artist, writer and cultural activist. She was recently awarded a Leeway Art and Change grant in support of her ongoing collaborative public archive work about social movements in Philadelphia. She is a painter, printer and book-maker and has exhibited art in numerous places including Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center and Woman Made Gallery. In recent years, her art practice has taken the form of collaboration with socially engaged public art projects such Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge—a multi-year initiative of Cohabitation Strategies and the Mural Arts Project—and a residency at Philadelphia’s Hatfield House with Amber Art and Design and the Fairmount Park Conservancy. A former Woodrow Wilson fellow, Beth earned a PhD in cultural anthropology from Temple University with a dissertation that examined the use of new media in global Indigenous human rights movements. She is co-founder of Ethnologica where she oversees participatory and art-based social research.
Anastasia Hudgins, PhD is a cultural anthropologist and co-founder of Ethnologica, a research firm that focuses on participatory, arts-based and community methods to reveal insights about health and community. As a scholar, Anastasia has written about fracking as it relates to common resources, politics and community in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania. Her articles are published in peer-reviewed journals including in the Journal of Political Ecology, Journal of Environmental Social Sciences, and Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment. As a tinkerer, she made a short film entitled “Water” which visually explores the winter setting just above and below the waterline at Two-Lick Creek Reservoir, the source of drinking water for residents of Indiana, Pennsylvania, and the site of a coal slurry contamination. She was the humanities consultant for a 2016 Precious Places film collaboration between Scribe Video and Ollin Yoliztli Calmecac, called “Belmont Grove: Reclaiming Coaquannock” about the past and current presence of Indigenous communities in Philadelphia, and it can be seen here. In the spring, summer and fall, she can be found in her canoe, exploring the waterways of Philadelphia, finding beauty where it’s least expected.
Environmental Performance Agency, "Embodied Scientist Parkour"
The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective using artistic, social, and embodied / kinesthetic practices to advocate for the agency of all living performers co-creating our environment, specifically through the lens of spontaneous urban plants, native or migrant.
Catherine Grau is a New York based artist and EPA agent. In her predominantly collaborative practice, she fosters embodied research methodologies, collective experiences and intimate encounters that aim to generate processes of de-colonizing and unlearning anthropocentric paradigms.
Andrea Haenggi has a research-based creative practice she calls Ethno-choreo-botan-ography that employs her roles as a choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, dancer, radical care sitter, somatic educator and EPA agent. Her sensual-bodily-tough works confront audiences with a world beyond humans.
Christopher Lee Kennedy is an EPA agent, transdisciplinary artist and educator who creates site-specific projects that examine conventional notions of ‘Nature’ and the biocultural possibility of interspecies agency and collaboration.
Ellie Irons is an artist, educator, and EPA-agent based in Brooklyn & Troy, NY. She works in a variety of media, from drawing to gardening, to reveal how human and nonhuman lives intertwine with ecological systems. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Electronic Arts at RPI in Troy, NY.
Aislinn Pentecost-Farren is an artist and curator with particular focus on parks, public history and ecology. Currently she curates a site-specific environmental artist residency and after-school program with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, and is an artist and curator for a series of community-engaged art projects based out of Bartram’s Garden, the first botanical garden in the United States.
Thomas Choinacky crafts spatial experiences through genre-defying performance. A queer, interdisciplinary artist Thomas has been the grantee of 1812 Productions’ Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program and has been awarded artist residencies at Kultuuritehas Polymer in Tallinn, Estonia and Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC. He is a founding member of Applied Mechanics, a radical, immersive theater collective based in Philadelphia, PA.