Unearthed: A LandLab Residency Exhibition
Unearthed features the work of LandLab Artist Residents: Dance Exchange, Kate Farquhar, and Jan Mun. This exhibition focuses on the results of each artist’s time at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education and how the outcomes of their residency inform ecological restoration issues. Each artist will present the results of their installations, including documentation of the evolution of their ideas over time, data collected and how their artistic process has been influenced by the residency.
During the residency, Cassie Meador (Executive Artistic Director of Dance Exchange) led a project that explored the relationship between land and water. Meador collaborated with Jame McCray, an interdisciplinary ecologist, and Zeke Leonard, an artist who mobilizes community-based sustainability efforts through interactive musical objects and installations. The creative team led a series of animated hikes on the trails of the Schuylkill Center property that connected participants to local ecology. During these hour-long experiences they asked the hikers to reflect on the ways that water shapes their lives. Through performance, installation, science engagements and other opportunities, these hikes surfaced concerns and questions about the Schuylkill River and local waterways and contributed to our understandings about the impacts of climate change on the region.
Dance Exchange is a Takoma Park, MD-based non-profit arts organization committed to dancemaking and creative practices that engage individuals and communities of all ages to cultivate a deeper understanding of themselves and their world, and to open up the questions at the heart of their lives. Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador since 2011, Dance Exchange creates dances by asking four questions: Who gets to dance? Where is the dance happening? What is it about? Why does it matter?
Kate Farquhar created a series of sculptures called Synestates. As a group, these sculptures pursue questions about materials and the environment such as: can conventional building materials extend habitat? Can green infrastructure become a meeting place for humans and other organisms? Can construction byproducts become part of a myth? Farquhar has installed two of her installations and will complete the final one over the winter. “Pvines” seeks to determine whether a rain chain can be combined with capillary fabric to confer growing advantages to a climbing, suckering vine. “Dolmbale” is a collection of floating forms that represent abstractions of Philadelphia’s most prevalent non-point-source (or non-industrial) water pollutants: Phosphorous, Nitrogen and salt. “Urlog” (in progress) consists of tree stumps drilled along different planes, using holes of different apertures and materials appealing to native pollinators.
Kate Farquhar is a Philadelphia based artist and landscape architect, whose work combines her artistic interests with her apprenticeship in cutting edge green infrastructure. Her process occupies the space where habitat, green infrastructure and myth overlap. Currently, Kate collaborates with the interdisciplinary studio at Roofmeadow, designing green infrastructure and places for people. She pulls inspiration from professional projects such as assistant-teaching Drawing and Field Ecology in PennDesign's Master of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning department. Kate has recently coordinated the Penn Program for Environmental Humanities WetLand Art Residency. In the past, she has apprenticed in environmental planning, native plant cultivation, gardening, product design, public interest folklore, social justice, street art and outdoor education.
Jan Mun is exploring mycoremediation and sharing her passion for mushrooms as “ecological instigators.” She will ultimately be creating an installation that enhances the mycorhizzal network of fungi that benefit plants in the forest ecosystem. These underground networks transfer nutrients and water between plants and fungi, and the presence or absence of these networks can determine the health of an entire forest. Mun will be working with Schuylkill Center staff to incorporate beneficial fungi into a planned spring 2019 tree planting project at the Schuylkill Center, enhancing the benefits of the project and creating visual impact of this hidden system.
Jan Mun is a media artist that creates social sculptures working with digital and living media. The landscape has become her framework to unfold stories about others and herself by using a combination of artistic and scientific processes that manifest in the form of interactive installations, photography, performance, and bio-art. Jan creates interfaces to elicit participation as a reflection and critique of our political and social systems. Working with communities such as Newtown Creek Alliance, BeeVillageNYC, NYC Mycological Society, and the Soil & Microbiology labs at Brooklyn College Jan innovates ideas to be realized through research, chance, and collaboration.
LandLab is a unique artist residency program that operates on multiple platforms: artistic creation, ecological restoration and education. A joint project of the Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA) and the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, LandLab offers resources and space on the Schuylkill Center’s 340-acre wooded property for visual artists to engage audiences in the processes of ecological stewardship through scientific investigation and artistic creation.
The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education inspires meaningful connections between people and nature. We use our forests and fields as a living laboratory to foster appreciation, deepen understanding, and encourage stewardship of the environment.
The Center for Emerging Visual Artists is dedicated to coordinating a strong regional support system for visual artists, to advance the careers of professional artists in the region, to promote relationships between artists and the communities in which they live, and to increase access to and promote interest and understanding of visual art among citizens of the community.
Support for LandLab is provided in part by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joseph Robert Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.