EcoCultures

EcoCultures Website

EcoCultures is an exhibition bringing together current cultural 
productions at the intersections of the arts, sciences and the 
practice of everyday life to explore the interdependence of our 
social and biological systems.

Mason Hall Atrium Gallery | George Mason University, Fairfax VA
September 22 – October 6, 2011

Public Reception – September 22, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Curated by Mark Cooley

Featuring the work of:  
Amy Balkin

The Futurefarmers

The Yes Men

Beatriz da Costa

Temporary Travel Office

 

Beehive Design Collective

Jens Jarisch & Sharon Davis

Kim Stringfellow

Matthew Friday & Jeff Lovett

Sarah Kanouse & Shiloh Krupar

 

In Search of Zea Mays

 

In Search of Zea Mays was created for the corn maze at Airlie Center in Warrenton VA, home of the Local Food Project (formerly directed by Pablo Elliot). A corn maze was created with the help of heirloom non-gmo corn seed, a tractor and gps system – and let’s not forget cooperative weather and lots of waiting.  Within the maze, dead-end pathways invited maze-goers to rest and reflect on the history of industrial agriculture through a comfy strawbale seat and text / image investigations into the modern food system’s most prized plant – corn.  The experience culminates in the “Cornference” room located in the center of the maze (& equipped with office furniture). The Cornference room hosted discussions among maze participants, meetings for members of The Local Food Project and at least one birthday bash. In Search of Zea Mays invited participants to explore our corn-based industrial food system by simultaneously superimposing the navigation of real space, data, and ideas in the familiar and freindly (if-not frustrating) form of the corn maze.

The Project was also displayed at the Green Festival in Washington DC as part of Airlie’s Local Food Project.

A Project by Mark Cooley in collaboration with farmer and local food advocate Pablo Elliot.

En plein air: No Man’s Land

En plein air: No Man’s Land  | 2011

Medium: Faux oil paintings – inkjet on stretched canvas

En plein air: No Man’s Land is a series of faux oil paintings made from desktop wallpapers of U.S. National Parks downloaded from the National Geographic website.

For the artist, the series represents an ongoing interest in authorship and appropriation, as well as the relationship between ecological catastrophe, the age of technological simulation and the fatalism of popular representations of nature that fail to envision how humans may possibly fit into a landscape without first destroying it.

agriArt: Companion Planting for Social & Biological Systems

agriArt Website

agriART is an exhibition brings together an array of art works that critically engage with cultures of food production and consumption. The exhibition features projects that represent where we are and what we can do to (re)create sustainable relationships with our sources of nourishment and the communities in which we live.

April 21 – May 15, 2009
Fine Arts Gallery. George Mason University

Public Reception – April 21, 5:00 – 7:00

Featuring: Fritz Haeg, Beehive Design Collective, Nance Klehm, Ted Purves & Susanne Cockrell, Critical Art Ensemble & Beatriz Da Costa & Claire Pentecost, Center for Urban Pedagogy with Amanda Matles, Deena Capparelli & Moisture, Lisa Tucker, Philip H. Howard, Amy Franceschini

With essays by: Claire Pentecost & Ron Graziani

Curated by: Mark Cooley & Ryan Griffis

The Field museum of Art


The Field museum of Art
2007

Launch Artwork

This museum, its exhibitions, the artists, the art are all fictions – as it is with all museums, exhibitions, artists and art. This particular fiction is constructed as a sort of museum mash-up wherein a Fine Art Museum is constructed on the bones of a decayed Natural History Museum site – specifically, the Chicago Field Museum website was used as a template.

The Field Museum of Art site provides a stage for performing romantic and modernist attitudes toward this concept we call nature and for tracing how this concept – nature – and the living things and planetary systems it’s tied to, are changing in response to media and communications technologies. Of particular interest is the relationship between hyperreality and species extinction  – investigating that relationship and marking out the real differences between a pulsing LED and a pulsing vein are primary concerns of The Field Museum of Art.

uConnect

uConnect 
2004
a collaborative project with Ryan Griffis.

Installation Sample

uConnect is an attempt to deal with the materiality of digital commodities, commerce, and culture. Mocking both museum and retail showroom aesthetics a computer display sits atop a pedestal under a vitrine exhibiting a stock tropical island screensaver. Interrupting this banal yet inviting simulation is a soundtrack made up of recordings of workers in the microprocessor industry testifying to the hazardous working conditions in so-called “cleanroom” environments. As the testimonies unfold it becomes clear that “cleanroom” facilities are constructed to protect technological components from the contamination of humans, yet provide little or no protection to humans from the toxic effects of the dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing process.

The value of the human life and the decline of all of earth’s life systems (due in large part to “technological advances” of the 20th and 21st centuries) is continually eclipsed by the next wave of consumer gadgetry that offers endless ways to negate and disguise the real in favor of the virtual. The piece has a similar appearance and conceptual framework as many ready-mades or object appropriations yet seeks to make explicit the political economy of the object in ways often left out of common-object-as-art scenarios. Detourned laptop computer advertisement pamphlets, featuring a juxtaposition of digital euphoria and consumption with the abuses suffered by workers in high tech industries, are provided for gallery visitors to browse and take.

CO.dependency

CO.dependency
2004

Produced for the exhibition youGenics – http://www.yougenics.netheld at the Betty Rymer Gallery, School of the Art Institute of Chicago – Curator – Ryan Griffis. 2004

Materials
3 plexiglass vitrine/glove boxes with mirrored bottoms,
Sara Lee™ cheese cake, plate, fork, dinner place cards for Gauguin,
Vuillard and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Wall Text
“Sara Lee’s art collection has made a statement – a quality statement – about our company. Art is all about excellence and vision and striving for perfection – the same standards that we uphold for our portfolio of leading brands. We are quite certain that the ‘brand names’ of Monet, Renoir and Degas have been a great complement to Sara Lee and have become icons of excellence that reflect our approach to doing business. Our gift to America acknowledges our belief that these works of art can provide similar influence and motivation for a broader audience.”

– John H. Bryan, former CEO and current consultant to, Sara Lee Corporation, current director of the Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inc., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Art Institute of Chicago, speaking at a 1998 ceremony in honor of Sara Lee’s “Millennium Gift to America,” a public relations initiative through which Sara Lee would give away the top tier of its renowned art collection to museums located throughout the world including The Art Institute of Chicago (AIC).  The AIC, which was given paintings by Gauguin and Vuillard, has a close relationship with Sara Lee. The corporation is the sole corporate sponsor of blockbuster exhibitions of artists such as Cassatt and Toulouse-Lautrec as well as the lead corporate sponsor of exhibitions and events of the Betty Rymer gallery.

“The big issue on standards for the Grocery Manufacturers of America is to be sure that people don’t perceive ‘organic’ as superior.”

– Gene Grabowski, vice president of communications for Grocery Manufacturers of America, Inc (GMA), the Washington, D.C.-based industry association, which represents 144 manufacturers of branded consumer packaged goods including Sara Lee.  GMA is stridently opposed to labeling genetically engineered ingredients, which are already present in an estimated 60 to 80 percent of supermarket foods in the US. Under intense public pressure in Europe Sara Lee has attempted to avoid GE ingredients in their foods produced for that market, yet in America, Sara Lee has maintained the position of the GMA and their powerful Washington lobby even while shareholders and some legislators have organized to demand a GE moratorium, until long term health and environmental safety testing has been done.

I could live my life in a nutshell and declare myself king of the world had I not bad dreams

I could live my life in a nutshell and declare myself king of the world had I not bad dreams  
1999

Produced for Beeswax, Brackish Water and Junipers, an exhibition of aesthetic representations of environmental concerns, Gray Gallery, East Carolina University.

Materials: oxygen tent, Jansen’s History of Art text, desk chair, pedestal, binder containing data detailing the environmental policies and political campaign contributions of corporations sponsoring museum exhibitions locally and nationally.