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Sunday, March 29 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Session 6 Panel Stream: Models and Challenges of Art-Science Collaboration

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Session 6 Panel Stream: Models and Challenges of Art-Science Collaboration 

Carlos Castellanos and Matt Garcia: “Towards Ecological Equality: Collaborative Practice in Art and Technology”

This panel will discuss models of collaboration that artists, scientists, engineers and technologists can deploy in order to respond to ecological and environmental health problems, particularly in marginalized and underserved communities.

With a general focus on transdisciplinarity and participatory, community-based practices that can achieve practical and lasting on-the-ground impact, we will explore how experimentation, observation and direct action in local ecologies by artists, scientists, technologists, and activists can lead to unique perspectives and showcase possibilities for catalyzing change and establishing a greater sense of community agency and control over environmental and ecological issues.

Many artists employing ecological practices are attracted by its interdisciplinary holism and opportunity for environmental activism. Since the conceptual and systems art movements of the 1960s and 70s, artists have shown a considerable interest in forging new aesthetics and systems of ideas by combining living matter, transdisciplinary collaboration and public engagement. Contemporary new media artists have expanded upon this tradition by employing new technologies alongside critical and conceptual analyses of biology, the environment and the landscape. In the same manner as their progenitors, these artists are engaging conceptually and critically with the latest technologies and scientific methods used in the environmental, ecological and biological sciences that are changing conceptions of life, the environment and the planet. Likewise many scientists and engineers have become interested in science literacy, public engagement and developing and contributing to open source and citizen science initiatives. We believe untapped opportunities exist for fruitful collaborations that can have a lasting impact on ecologically underprivileged communities.

Questions the panel will raise include (but are not limited to):
• How can artists, scientists, engineers, and the general public deploy methods and technologies to create platforms for conversation, awareness and action on ecological and environmental issues?
• What novel strategies for knowledge sharing and collaboration can artists and scientists devise that may serve as models for participatory community action and lead to networks of community association and cooperation around issues of climate change, energy and the environment?
• What novel and creative uses of ecological research, environmental data, landscape data and renewable energy technologies can be deployed to foster greater awareness and community agency over issues of energy production, climate change, ecological stewardship and environmental health?
• How can art-science collaborations help to rediscover and/or reclaim lost or neglected ecologies and landscapes?
• What theoretical frameworks and methodologies can each of us bring to this work?

Within the context of ecological restoration, specific topic areas that may be discussed include (but are not limited to):
• Environmental and climate data visualization
• Ecological restoration and remediation technologies
• Citizen science and diy/open source/open data culture
• Mapping and landscape practices
• Environmental justice and activism
• Ecologically Empowered Communities
• Bioenergy and renewable energy technologies
• Eco-droning: use of unmanned aerial vehicles in ecological and environmental contexts
• Pedagogy: engaging art and technology students with environmental issues
• Ubiquitous computing, locative media and mobile technologies
• Food and agricultural practices
• Sound: soundscape and acoustic ecology

Edgar Cardenas and Sandra Rodegher: “Sustainability and Its Interdisciplinary and Collaborative Challenges”
Sustainability research hopes to link knowledge to social action for a better future (Cash et al., 2003; Clark, 2007; Jasanoff, 1996), this knowledge needs to address the social, political, and cultural processes involved in creating a sustainable vision (Bryan G Norton, 2005; Thompson, 2010) as much as the scientific and technological ones (Miller, 2012). In order to tackle these challenges interdisciplinary research has become a cornerstone of sustainability (Lang et al., 2012). However, the emphasis has been on research in the sciences, rarely including the arts and humanities (Fischer et al., 2007; Kagan, 2011). Furthermore, sustainability projects have not only moved towards interdisciplinarity but have emphasized collaborative participation, which broadens the epistemological and ontological palette for grappling with wicked problems (Kinzig, 2001; Miller, 2012; Bryan G Norton, 2005; Bryan G. Norton, 2012; Thompson & Whyte, 2012).

While these are promising avenues for addressing sustainability problems, they raise their own operational challenges. Specifically, how are different knowledge sets synthesized, and what are the necessary conditions for increasing the likelihood of authentic and productive collaborations? Panel participants will discuss their work and how they have addressed these challenges in their own research. 

Edgar Cardenas will discuss his efforts to integrate his art and research practice both at the individual and collaborative level. He will discuss how his research revisits the wilderness aesthetic, its challenges for sustainability, and how Aldo Leopold’s ideas can take us into a more productive direction for aesthetics in sustainability. He will also discuss how this work has informed his art practice, which led to his exhibit, “one hundred little dramas.,” an exploration of the backyard as an ecological space. Finally, he will discuss how his research addresses these interdisciplinary challenges in artist-scientist collaborations by investigating the conditions that aid or hinder these types of radical collaborations, which can then lead to creative sustainability solutions.

Sandra Rodegher will discuss her research efforts to identify and foster authentic participation in scenario planning processes and the ethical implications of failing to do so. She will discuss the challenges of combining multiple methodological approaches and technologies in an effort to develop a more systemic understanding of participation in scenario planning processes. Furthermore she will discuss her process in linking scenario planning, philosophy, and psychology to approach sustainability from multiple dimensions. 

Both panelists have taken a radically interdisciplinary path in an effort to produce creative and relevant work that strikes at the heart of how to create a solid foundation for strengthening and expanding collaborative/participative efforts for advancing sustainability. They will not only share their own processes but also their research findings from their investigations. 


Todd Ingalls

Todd Ingalls is a media composer who works with interactive performance and experiential media systems. He is currently Associate Professor of Research in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University, where he also serves as Chair of Graduate Studies. His... Read More →


Edgar Cardenas

Edgar Cardenas is an artist-scientist, born in California, raised in Wisconsin, and educated in New England and the Southwest. He studied Psychology at Gordon College (BA), Industrial/Organizational Psychology at University of New Haven (MA), and is a Ph.D. candidate in the School... Read More →

Carlos Castellanos

Carlos Castellanos is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests such as embodiment, cybernetics, ecology, phenomenology, artificial intelligence and art-science collaboration. He has received a National Science Foundation IGERT Fellowship in Interactive... Read More →

Matt Garcia

Matt Garcia is an interdisciplinary artist maintaining a socially engaged practice exploring the intersection of technology and society. Much of Garcia's work investigates the subjectivity of dry land ecology, place and visual culture. In 2009, Garcia founded DesertArtLAB, a social... Read More →

Sandra Rodegher

Sandra Rodegher is a graduate student at Arizona State University. Prior to coming to Arizona to join the PhD program in sustainability, she helped form the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Yale University and served as a consultant in leadership and diversity training. She also... Read More →

Sunday March 29, 2015 3:30pm - 5:00pm MST
Stauffer B125 950 S. Forest Mall Tempe, AZ 85281

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