Artist Bios

Ciclón: Sin Kabeza Productions and SK Symbiotic are collaborative arts and research platforms that aim to move beyond anthroposupremacy in architectures of design and society, with the intention of envisioning and producing speculative modes of engagement that seriously consider networked multispecies communities. Our attempt is to mine methodologies that enable society to move beyond the “blindness” caused by human exceptionalism and uncover what cultural anthropologist Eben Kirksey calls “biocultural hope” in the midst of co-constituted and symbiotic worldings. Since 2011 our production focus has sought to enact response-ability to palpable political ecologies in the Plantationcene. Following the death of our beloved companion toy poodle, Luk Kahlo, our activist research has turned towards the relationships elaborated between species, and an interest in developing technologies to be used in multispecies ethnography, where intense affective encounters forged between street dogs in Chile and India, a German hedgehog, and most recently, wildlife rehabilitation work with squirrels, white tailed deer, and raccoons in NJ, has transformed the way we approach our practice as artists. We work across diverse materialities to translate the affects that arise in our situated research. See SEEDBANK_an_eco_evo_devo_design_fiction_in_SF_Mode_and_the_dream_of_Response-able_Multispecies_Communities.

Collard City Growers: Collard City Growers is a volunteer-run food justice project where we connect arts and culture to growing a wealth of annuals and perennials including vegetables, medicinal herbs, natural dye plants, grains, and fruit trees. We share our homegrown harvest at neighborhood events that host hundreds of community members and passersby who come in search of nutrient dense food or “the best lettuce [they’ve] ever tasted.”

Coven Intelligence Program: Coven Intelligence Program (Efrén Cruz Cortés, Margaretha Haughwout, Suzanne Husky)The Coven Intelligence Program (formerly APRIORI) is a techno-botanical coven whose mission is to track and encourage emerging revolutionary ecologies of work between plants and machines. Our familiars suggest that this alliance has a history reaching back to at least the 1500s. We use our magick to try to understand more deeply the ‘nature’ of intelligence, and how the differences between communication and resource exchange are collapsing. The future of humanity is not at stake, but racist capitalist heteropatriarchy is.

Environmental Performance Agency: The Environmental Performance Agency (EPA) is an artist collective founded in 2017 and named in response to the dismantling of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Appropriating the acronym EPA, the collective’s primary goal is to shift thinking around the terms environment, performance, and agency – using artistic, social, and embodied 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. Current EPA Agents include Catherine Grau, andrea haenggi, Ellie Irons, Christopher Kennedy, and spontaneous urban plants.

Oliver Kellhammer: Oliver Kellhammer is an ecological artist, educator, activist and writer. Through his botanical interventions and public art projects, he seeks to demonstrate nature’s surprising ability to recover from damage. His work facilitates the processes of environmental regeneration by engaging the botanical and socio-political underpinnings of the landscape. It continues to evolve and has taken various forms such as small-scale urban eco-forestry, inner city community agriculture and the restoration of eroded railway ravines. Kellhammer works as a part-time lecturer in Sustainable Systems at Parsons/New School for Design and has been a permaculture instructor for many years (certified by PINA the Permaculture Institute of North America). He is based in New York’s Alphabet City and rural British Columbia.

Jack Magai and Magai Arboriculture: With a family background in engineering, undergraduate work in math and chemistry, and a degree in dance and literature from Bennington college, Jack Magai started working in the tree care field in 1985. He started pruning trees in Seattle in the 90s and became certified as an arborist by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) in 1997. He has studied tree mechanics with Claus Mattheck, is qualified by the ISA in Tree Risk Assessment, and is a member of the American Society of Consulting Arborists.
Under his other hat he has been making and performing dance and performance works for 30 years. His recent work illuminates the tensions between the sensed world and the conceived world. By altering the tempo and context of everyday sensations his projects aim to put in relief the cadences of ordinary life in order to catalyze dialog about human physicality and our relationship to the natural world.
He has two sons with the writer Amy Halloran.

Dan Phiffer: Dan Phiffer is a software developer and artist. During the day he helps build web software at The Markup. On nights and weekends he is building a new web publishing platform called Pepperweed. He draws on many years of working professionally with cultural institutions, most recently at the ACLU, the New Yorker magazine and the Museum of Modern Art. He has consulted for many clients including the Asia Society, the New York Times, the National Museum of American History, and KCET public television. Phiffer’s art projects often use computer networks as a raw material, and have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and SFMOMA. He studied computer science at Harvey Mudd College in California, and received his graduate degree from NYU’s ITP program in New York City.

Praba Pilar: Praba Pilar is a diasporic Colombian artist disrupting the contemporary ‘Cult of the Techno-Logic’ through performances, digital and electronic installations, participatory workshops, and experimental public talks. She has a PhD in Performance Studies, is Director of the slow-tech MAKER Space at Pro ARTS, and is Co-Director of the Hindsight Institute.

marisa prefer: invisible labor helps to facilitate relationships between plants and people, working to decenter colonizer narratives about ecological entanglements and collectively reimagine interactions on land with medicine and food. marisa prefer works as part of invisible labor to steward landscapes in NYC– as a Horticulturalist-in-Residence at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn, a Farm Manager at Earth Matter on Governors Island and a frequent collaborator with artists, scientists and organizations working on projects related to marginal ecologies. http://invisiblelabor.org

Paul Sargent: Paul Lloyd Sargent is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and video editor living between Brooklyn, Syracuse, and Wellesley Island, NY. His research-based art practice focuses primarily on the supply and disposal chain through an amalgam of new media art, radical cartography, grassroots activism, and sustainable culture as art practice. In particular, his recent work examines the impact of the international shipping industry on the ecologies, economies, and communities along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.

Dawn Weleski: Dawn Weleski’s art practice administers a political stress test, antagonizing routine cultural behavior by re-purposing underground brawls, revolutionary protests, and political offices as transformative social stages. Recent projects include The Black Draft (with Justin Strong), a live mock sports draft event during which ten Black former Pittsburghers, from all professions, are drafted to return home and City Council Wrestling, a series of public wrestling matches where citizens, pro-am wrestlers, and city council members personified their political passions into wrestling characters. She co-founded and co-directed Conflict Kitchen (with Jon Rubin), a take-out restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the U.S. government is in conflict, which has been covered by over 950 international media and news outlets worldwide and was the North American finalist for the Second Annual International Award for Public Art in 2015.

Currently, Weleski is NEH Visiting Assistant Professor of Art & Art History at Colgate University. In collaboration with Central New York residents, she is investigating the aesthetics and dramaturgy of historical and contemporary mutual aid societies, which will culminate in a participatory, public initiative that will highlight how mutual aid contributes to belonging and othering and will problematize definitions of resiliency, community, and the rural radical

Efrén Cruz Cortes: Efrén’s research is on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, developing theory and algorithms for ML tasks involving complex data. E studies the fair and ethical use of algorithms in an automated society. In particular, how harmful social structures can be reproduced and amplified by implementation of AI in social systems. E engages with art and performance to both bring ideas to the public and to challenge our rotten econo-political system from an aesthetic perspective. Efrén likes tacos, tacos likes Efrén.

Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust (Çaca Yvaire)