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In our time, environments are remade, exploited, terraformed, and subjected to massive forces of extreme weather. Our landscapes — the fauna and flora, as well as the geo-scene of mountains, sea, forests, and glaciers — are all set in a constant state of transition. Some impacts of this transition are felt and seen everywhere. But others abide by nonhuman measures of deep time and slow transitions. They come into our focus only intermittently, such as when an ice shelf collapses into the ocean.


With Transitional Environments, we ask how artists respond to such transitional environments and their decidedly nonhuman scales, rhythms, and implications. Artists  Diane Burko and Patty Chang will join GC professors Jonathan Gilmore and Peter Eckersall to consider art’s possibilities and strategies of engagement with climate science, geology, and meteorology. How does art help us to imagine environmental utopias or dystopias, or mark changes to our environment and to our lives within it? If, as Bifo Berardi claims, the earth itself is “rebelling against the world,” how do artists act as witnesses, resisters, and symbolic transformers in this struggle?


Diane Burko headshotWhile Diane Burko’s artistic practice began with monumental geological phenomena, in recent years she turned to focus exclusively on climate change: glacial melt and sea level rise, coral reef ecosystems, extraction, deforestation, and forest fires. Informed by scientific research as well as extensive witnessing trips, Burko’s arresting art provocatively merges the panoramic and the intimate, the scientific and the sensuous. Her work can be found in collections such as The Art Institute of Chicago, the National Academy of Sciences, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Zimmerli Museum. She is professor emerita from Community College of Philadelphia, and has also taught at Princeton University, ASU, and PAFA. She has received numerous awards including from the NEA, PA Council on the Arts Awards, Independence Foundation, and residences in Giverny, Bellagio and the Arctic Circle.

Chang PattyPatty Chang is a Los Angeles based artist and educator who uses performance, video, installation and narrative forms when considering identity, gender, transnationalism, colonial legacies, the environment, large-scale infrastructural projects and impacted subjectivities. Her museum exhibition and book “The Wandering Lake” investigates the landscapes impacted by large scale human-engineered water projects such as the Soviet mission to irrigate the waters from the Aral Sea, as well as the longest aqueduct in the world, the North to South Water Diversion Project in China. In addition to numerous awards and fellowships, her work has been exhibited at institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, M+ Museum in Hong Kong, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. She teaches at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA.

Jonathan Gilmore Jonathan Gilmore is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the Graduate Center and Baruch College and Co-Editor (as of 2023) of The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism.  His work in the philosophy of art draws on both empirical research in cognitive science and historical and critical scholarship in the humanities.  He is also an art critic, publishing regularly in major art journals and exhibition catalogs.  His 2020 book, Apt Imaginings: Feelings for Fictions and Other Creatures of the Mind, addresses how our engagements with imagined states of affairs compare to our encounters with the everyday world.


Peter Eckersall - The Center for the HumanitiesPeter Eckersall teaches in the Ph.D. program in Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, City University of New York and is a Professorial Fellow, University of Melbourne. Recent publications include: Machine Made Silence (ed. with Kristof van Baarle, 2020), The Routledge Companion to Theatre and Politics (ed. with Helena Grehan, 2019), New Media Dramaturgy (co-authored with Helena Grehan and Ed Scheer, 2017), and Performativity and Event in 1960s Japan (2013). He was co-founder/dramaturg of Not Yet It’s Difficult. Recent dramaturgy includes: Everything Starts from a Dot (Sachiyo Takahashi, LaMama), Phantom Sun/Northern Drift (Alexis Destoop, Beursschouwburg, Riga Biennial).



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