Deep Ecology in the Cognitive Capitalocene
SFSIA 2022 | New York City

in collaboration with The Brooklyn Rail
June 23 – July 1

Faculty Bios

Franco “Bifo” Berardi founded the magazine A/traverso (1975-1981) and was part of the staff of Radio Alice. Later, he fled to Paris where he worked with Felix Guattari. Publications include Mutazione e Cyberpunk (Genoa, 1993), The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Autonomy (Semiotext(e), 2009), Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide (Verso, 2015), And: Phenomenology of the End (Semiotext(e), 2015), Futurability (Verso, 2017), Breathing: Chaos and Poetry (Semiotext(e), 2018), and The Third Unconscious: The Psycho Sphere in the Viral Age (Verso, 2021). Over the last ten years, Berardi has lectured at many universities around the globe.

Lauren Bon is an environmental artist from Los Angeles, CA. Her practice, Metabolic Studio, explores self-sustaining and self-diversifying systems of exchange that feed emergent properties that regenerate the life web. Some of her works include: Not A Cornfield, which transformed and revived an industrial brownfield in downtown Los Angeles into a thirty-two-acre cornfield for one agricultural cycle; 100 Mules Walking the Los Angeles Aqueduct, a 240-mile performative action that aimed to reconnect the city of Los Angeles with the source of its water for the centenary of the opening of the Los Angeles Aqueduct. Her studio’s current work, Bending the River, aims to utilize Los Angeles’ first private water right to deliver 106-acre feet of water annually from the LA River to over 50 acres of land in the historic core of downtown LA. This model can be replicated to regenerate the 52-mile LA River, reconnect it to its floodplain and form a citizens’ utility.

Nicolas Bourriaud, born in 1965, is a curator and writer. He recently funded Radicants, a curatorial cooperative producing exhibitions worldwide. He was the Director of the MO.CO- Montpellier Contemporain (gathering the art center La Panacée, the ESBAMA art school and Hotel des Collections). He founded and Codirected the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (1999-2006), was the founder advisor for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Kiev (2003-2007), professor at the IUAV in Venice (2006-2007), and Gulbenkian Curator for Contemporary Art at Tate Britain in London (2007/ 2010). In 2010, he headed the studies department at the Ministry of Culture in France, then became Director of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts de Paris (2011-2015). As an independent curator, he was part of the curatorial team of Aperto 1993 at the Venice Biennial and has organized many international exhibitions including Traffic (Capc Bordeaux, 1996), Estratos (Murcia, Spain, 2008) or Altermodern (Tate Britain, 2009), Wirikuta/Mexican Time Slip (Aguascalientes, Mexico, 2016), and more recently Planet B. Climate Change and the New Sublime (Venice, 2022). He also curated several biennials including Lyon (2005), Moscou (2005 and 2007, with with Rosa Martinez, Daniel Birnbaum, Joseph Backstein, Hans-Ulrich Obrist and  Iara Boubnova), Monodrome (Athens, 2011), The Great Acceleration (Taipei Biennial 2014), Threads (Kaunas Biennial, Lituania, 2015), and The 7th Continent (Istanbul biennial 2019). His theoretical publications include Relational Aesthetics (1998), Postproduction (2002), Radicant (2009), The Exform (2015) and Inclusions. Aesthetics of the Capitalocene (2021/Sternberg Press, 2022).

Phong Bui is an artist, writer, independent curator, and co-founder and artistic director of The Brooklyn Rail, for which he contributes essays, reviews, interviews, and creates portraits of each month’s featured interviewees.

Mareike Dittmer is Director of Public Engagement at TBA21-Academy, a contemporary art organisation fostering a deeper relationship to the Ocean and an incubator for collaborative research, artistic production, and new forms of transdisciplinary knowledge production, resulting in exhibitions, research, and policy interventions. From 2018 to 2020 Mareike was director of Art Stations Foundation CH / Muzeum Susch, and since 2019 she is a lecturer at ZHdK, the Zurich art academy. From 2017 to 2019 Mareike conceived and chaired the annual Disputaziuns Susch and 2016 to 2018, together with Julieta Aranda, she chaired the 9th Futurological Congress convening in Warsaw, Tel Aviv and Munich. Until 2018 Mareike was the associate publisher of frieze magazine. She lives and works in Zurich (CH) and Berlin (D).

Thyrza Nichols Goodeve is a writer, editor, and collaborative conversationalist. She writes with rather than about art and artists. Her interests range from art as a “structure of feeling,” to human/nonhuman/inhuman animal ontologies; the aesthetics of wonder; theories and practices of race, gender, writing and world-building; surrealist histories and methodologies; practical and resistant dystopias and utopias; and the metaphysics of technology. She is the author of How Like a Leaf: A Conversation with Donna J. Haraway (1999) and the introduction to the 20th anniversary edition of Haraway’s Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™. Feminism and Technoscience (2017). From 2017-19 she was Senior Art Editor of The Brooklyn Rail and currently is the editor of two forthcoming books Janet Zweig: Language Generating Sculptures 1990-2012 and Workstyles of Mildred’s Lane. She teaches at the School of Visual Arts in the BFA and MFA Fine Arts Department, MFA Computer Arts, and MFA in Art Practice.

Joan Jonas, believing that sculpture and painting were exhausted mediums, became known for her pioneering work in performance and video art. Jonas, who studied sculpture and art history, was deeply influenced by the work of Trisha Brown, with whom she studied dance, as well as John Cage and Claes Oldenburg, particularly in their exploration of non-linear narrative structure and form. Jonas has performed and exhibited her work extensively throughout the world. In 2004 she was honored with a retrospective at the Queens Museum of Art in New York, titled Joan Jonas: Five Works. She has also had major retrospectives at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, and Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany. In 2015 Jonas was selected to represent the United States in the 56th Venice Biennale. Her new installation for the five galleries of the United States Pavilion, They Come to Us without a Word, was commissioned by the MIT List Visual Arts Center. Jonas also created a new video performance, with music by Jason Moran (They Come to Us without a Word II), in conjunction with her installation for the US Pavilion at the Biennale.

Agnieszka Kurant (Lódz, Poland, 1978) is a conceptual artist whose work investigates collective intelligence, nonhuman intelligences (from microbes to Artificial Intelligence), the future of labour and creativity, and the exploitations within surveillance capitalism. Kurant is the recipient of the 2020 LACMA A+T Award, the 2019 Frontier Art Prize, the 2018 Pollock-Krasner Grant Award and the 2022 Google AMI Grant Award. Her solo exhibitions and projects include Crowd Crystal at Castello di Rivoli in Turin, The End of Signature at the MIT List Visual Arts Center (2022), Cambridge; Errorism at Muzeum Sztuki, Lódz (2021); The End of Signature, Guggenheim Museum, New York (2015); Exformation, Sculpture Center, New York (2013) and the Polish Pavilion at the 12th Venice Biennale of Architecture (with A. Wasilkowska, 2010). Her work was recently exhibited at the MoMA in New York, Kunsthalle Wien, the Istanbul Biennial, Salzburger Kunstverein, Hamburger Kunstverein, the De Young Museum, San Francisco, MOCA Toronto, and the Milano Triennale. Her earlier exhibitions include Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Guggenheim Bilbao, Witte de With, Rotterdam; Moderna Museet; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; The Kitchen, New York; Bonner Kunstverein; Grazer Kunstverein, Cleveland Biennial; Mamco, Geneva; Frieze Projects, London, and Performa Biennial. Kurant is currently an artist in residence at Art Explora in Paris. She was an Artist Fellow at the Berggruen Institute in 2018-21, an artist in residence at MIT CAST in 2017 – 2019, at the Smithsonian Institute in 2018 and at Palais de Tokyo in 2003-2004. 

Reza Negarestani is a philosopher and writer. He has lectured and taught at numerous international universities and institutes. His latest work is Intelligence and Spirit (2018, Sequence Press/Urbanomic/MIT), a philosophical monograph on artificial general intelligence at the intersection of theoretical computer science, philosophy of mind and German Idealism. Negarestani is currently directing the Critical Philosophy programme at the New Centre for Research and Practice.

Over the past five years, American artist Warren Neidich has used written texts, neon light sculptures, paintings and photographs to create cross-pollinating conceptual works that reflect upon situations at the border zones of art, science, and social justice. He is founder and director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, which will focus this summer on “Deep Ecology in the Cognitive Capitalocene,” in collaboration with The Brooklyn Rail. Selected solo and group exhibitions include the Venice Biennale, Whitney Museum of American Art, P.S.1 MOMA, White Columns, Artists Space (NYC), Walker Art Center, MIT List Visual Art Center (Cambridge, MA), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, National Museum of American Art (Washington, DC), Queens Museum, Museum Ludwig (Köln, Germany), Haus Der Kunst (Munich, Germany), Zentrum für Kunst and Media (Karlsruhe, Germany), Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin, Germany), Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Kunsthalle Nuremberg, ICA London, Palais Tokyo (Paris, France) and Villa Arson (Nice, France). His work has been the subject of over 150 magazine and newspaper articles including The New York Times, Time Magazine, Artforum, Art in America, Kunstforum International, The Art Newspaper, Smithsonian Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Hyperallergic, Artnet, GQ, Forbes, Vogue IT, Monopol, Performance Art Journal, American Photographer, Time Out, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The Village Voice, and Frieze. Recent awards include Stiftung Kunstfonds NEUSTART KULTUR (2020 and 2021), Hauptstadtkulturfonds (2021), and Katalogförderung des Berliner Senats (2017). Neidich currently works between New York City and Berlin.

Romy Opperman is originally from London, UK and is currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Philosophy at The New School for Social Research. Romy’s research centers on Africana, Indigenous, decolonial feminist thinkers to foreground issues of racism and colonialism for environmental and climate ethics and justice. Specifically, her work is concerned with the ontological politics and practices of freedom operative in Black feminist ecologies and geographies, and more generally in place-based movements and struggles over land and the environment. Additionally, it contributes to continental philosophy and critical theory by examining how Africana and decolonial philosophy repurpose aspects of the former traditions for their own ends. Romy’s work has appeared in Critical Philosophy of Race, March: A Journal of Art & Strategy, The Philosopher, and Another Gaze: A Feminist Film Journal and has forthcoming work in The New Centennial Review and Monthly Review. She is currently writing a book manuscript tentatively titled Groundings: Black Ecologies of Freedom.

Eliana Otta is an artist with a Master in Cultural Studies and currently Candidate at the Phd in Practice Program at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, with her project “Lost & Shared: Approaches to collective mourning, towards affective and transformative politics.” The project investigates the ways in which art can enable the collectivization of mourning, creating dialogues between theory and affective labor, through collective experiences that connect emotions, critical thinking, body and space. She coordinated the curatorial team at Lugar de la Memoria (Museum of Memory) in Peru, has taught at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and co-founded the artist-run space Bisagra.

Florencia Portocarrero (Lima, 1981) writes, lectures, teaches and organizes both exhibitions and public programs. Her research interests are focused on how to rewrite art history from a feminist perspective, regimes of subjectivation in the context of neoliberal globalization and the questioning of hegemonic forms of knowledge. Between 2008 and 2010, she completed a master’s degree in Theoretical Studies in Psychoanalysis at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Later, from 2012 to 2013, Portocarrero participated in the Curatorial Program of the Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam, and in 2015 she completed a second master’s degree in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmiths University in London. She has participated in several international conferences and her writings on art and culture appear regularly in specialized magazines such as Atlántica Journal, Artishock and Terremoto. In 2017/2018 Portocarrero received the Curating Connections scholarship, awarded by the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and the KfW Stiftung. In Lima, she has worked as a Public Program Curator at Proyecto AMIL (2015-2019), was a Curatorial Advisor of the Museo de Arte de Lima–MALI Contemporary Art Acquisitions Committee (2018-2020) and is a member of Bisagra, one of the few art collectives in the city.  

Musician and philosopher David Rothenberg wrote Why Birds Sing, Bug Music, Survival of the Beautiful and many other books, published in at least eleven languages. He has more than thirty recordings out, including One Dark Night I Left My Silent House which came out on ECM, and most recently In the Wake of Memories and Faultlines. He has performed or recorded with Pauline Oliveros, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, Suzanne Vega, Scanner, Elliott Sharp, Umru, Iva Bittová, and the Karnataka College of Percussion. Nightingales in Berlin is his latest book and film. Rothenberg is Distinguished Professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Tomás Saraceno is an Argentina-born, Berlin-based artist whose projects dialogue with forms of life and life-forming, rethinking dominant threads of knowledge in the Capitalocene era and recognizing how diverse modes of being engage a multiplicity of vibrations on the Web of Life. For more than two decades, Saraceno has activated projects aimed towards rethinking the co-creation of the atmosphere, including Museo Aero Solar (2007–) and the Aerocene Foundation (2015–), towards a society free from carbon emissions and the abuses of the Capitalocene.  Saraceno’s work with local communities, scientific researchers, and institutions around the world, aims to seek out a more equal balance of human, techno- and biodiversity, with the understanding that knowledge is produced from specific situations. He has held numerous residencies including MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (2012–), Atelier Calder (2010); published in Nature and PNAS; presented a TED talk; staged artistic interventions with COP20, COP21, and COP26; has lectured at Princeton, Columbia, Centre Pompidou, Herald Design Forum, Hirshhorn Museum, CCK, and Interspecies Internet among other locations. He has also been the subject of solo exhibitions and permanent installations at museums and institutions internationally, including Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2018);  Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires (2017); K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Ständehaus, Dusseldorf (2013); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2011). Saraceno has participated in numerous festivals and biennales, including the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (2020) and the 53rd and 58th Venice Biennales (2009, 2019). Saraceno lives and works in and beyond the planet Earth.

Barry Schwabsky, co-director of the Saas-Fee Summer Institute of Art, is art critic for The Nation and co-editor of international reviews for Artforum. He has taught at Yale University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Hunter College, and Goldsmiths College, University of London, among others. His recent books include The Observer Effect: On Contemporary Painting (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2019) and a collection of poetry, Feelings of And (New York: Black Square Editions, 2022).

Based between New York City and Berlin, Analisa Teachworth is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes  sculpture, installation, digital media, sound, and painting. Teachworth ties personal experience and allegorical histories  into a unique lexicon, focusing on methods addressing the materiality and mythology of displacement. Through an  investigation of materials and form, the work examines the relationship between experience and place, the artist’s  upbringing in the landscape of abandoned post-industrial Detroit, Michigan, USA, and her Puerto Rican ancestry.  Her practice, research, and writing explore collective liminal states, contextualizing intersections of disembodiment  and vivifying emptiness. Highlighting the agency of ethics used within contemporary technologies, Teachworth’s examinations switch through  myriad formats and historical references as tools for remodeling our relationship to the natural vs. artificial. Her storytelling methods reveal how our technological systems function as a reality machine that defines our intellectual and physical  economies, extending beyond our inner selves outwardly into the social fabric. Magnifying tensions with a particular  focus on critically reflecting the history of femininity and post-colonial edict ensues in her intuitive agenda. Teachworth  envisions new forms of communication that seek to reclaim and reconstruct her own experiences and the narrative of  our collective history itself. Teachworth’s works have been exhibited at institutions including The Shed New York, FRAGILE Berlin, MoMA PS1 New  York, Hamburger Bahnhof Staatliche Museen Berlin, Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art Berlin, The New Museum New York. 

Victoria Vesna, Ph.D., is an Artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design Media  Arts and Director of the Art|Sci Center at the School of the Arts and California NanoSystems  Institute (CNSI). Although she was trained early on as a painter (Faculty of Fine arts, University  of Belgrade, 1984), her curious mind took her on an exploratory path that resulted in work that can be defined as experimental creative research residing between disciplines and technologies. With her installations she investigates how communication technologies affect collective behavior and perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation (PhD, University of  Wales, 2000). Her work involves long-term collaborations with composers, nano-scientists, neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists and she brings this experience to students. She incorporates sound and frequencies as primal in her installation and online work and teaches a master seminar “Vibrations Matter: Art and Science of Deep Listening.” Victoria has exhibited her work in 20+ solo exhibitions, 70+ group shows, has been published in  20+ papers and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is the North American editor of AI & Society journal (Springer Verlag, UK) and in 2007 published an edited volume – Database  Aesthetics: Art in the Age of Information Overflow (Minnesota Press) and another in 2011, Context Providers: Conditions of Meaning in Media Arts. (co-edited with Christiane Paul and  Margot Lovejoy) Intellect Ltd, 2011. Currently she is working on a series Art Science &  Technology based on her online lecture class and the Hox Zodiac cookbook in collaboration  with neuroscientist Siddharth Ramakrishnan.

McKenzie Wark is the author, among other things, of Capital is Dead (Verso 2019), Reverse Cowgirl (Semiotexte 2020) and Philosophy for Spiders: On the Low Theory of Kathy Acker (Duke 2021). Her next book, Raving, will be published by Duke University Press in spring 2023. She teaches at The New School in New York City.

Bruce Wexler graduated from Harvard College Magna Cum Laude with a major in Government and earned his MD at Albert Einstein of Medicine where he did research on neurotransmitter synthesis in cell cultures, studied for two years with Oliver Sacks, and studied psychiatry at Anna Freud’s clinic in Hampstead and neurology at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square. He trained in psychiatry at Yale University and stayed as a member of the faculty. His most recent work places human neuroplasticity, and the fact that humans alone among animals shape the environments that shape their brains, in the context of the existential challenge to all living things of maintaining order and function in the face of relentless entropic pressure as described by the laws of thermodynamics. In earlier work, he argued for the importance of a neurosystems view of normal and abnormal brain function in a 1986 lead paper in the British Journal of Psychiatry and helped launch the field of digital neurotherapy with a series of intervention and fMRI studies beginning in 1997. This led to new, physiologically-based, technology-enabled, non-pharmacologic treatments for depression and ADHD, programs used in schools to enhance development of cognitive functions necessary for learning and compromised by poverty, and an NIH Director’s Award for paradigm-changing medical research. His 2006 seminal text in cultural neuroscience, Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology and Social Change (MIT press) integrates neuroscience, psychology, sociology, and political science research to provide a systematic understanding of the relations between the function of our brains and the environment we create and live within. He has published over 135 peer-reviewed scientific papers and given invited lectures in North and South America, Europe and Asia.