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Mar 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Chance Ecologies: Artists and Post-Industrial Urban Wilderness

Conversation following the presentations with curators Nathan Kensinger & Catherine Grau

Since 2015, the artists of Chance Ecologies have been creatively engaging the post-industrial waterfront of Queens, New York. Their work has included seed collecting, interactive mapping, experimental filmmaking, guerrilla archaeological digs, and public participatory actions in off-limits areas. Though not necessarily intended as documentary, the artworks created by Chance Ecologies have helped to capture the story of endangered landscapes and species, as the city’s last unprotected pockets of unmanaged wilderness are turned over to developers and bulldozed.

This event will dig into the role of artists and citizens in engaging the history of pollution and neglect that has shaped our current version of urban “nature.” As the environment continues to be radically reshaped by human impacts, including globalization and climate change, how can we creatively investigate these fragile landscapes?  And in the face of global mass extinction, how do we create empathy for the forgotten species in our own backyards?


Presentations by several of the artists from this unique collective project will be followed by discussion with curators Nathan Kensinger and Catherine Grau.

Edrex Fontanilla and Sarah Nelson Wright will discuss their project Hidden Vistas, a virtual reality installation that cultivates empathy for places that no longer exist or are too hazardous to visit.

Dillon de Give will speak about the Coyote Walks, a walking residency that traces the potential pathways that coyotes are using, as they enter New York City for the first time in their history.

Ellie Irons will discuss her work with the spontaneous plants that thrive in urban landscapes, which are often derided as weeds, including her projects Feral Landscape Typologies, The Next Epoch Seed Library, The Sanctuary for Weedy Species, and Invasive Pigments.

60 min


Nathan Kensinger is a photographer, filmmaker, and curator living in Brooklyn whose work examines hidden urban landscapes, off-limits industrial structures, environmental disaster zones, and other liminal spaces. His photographs have been exhibited at museums and galleries throughout New York City, and are currently installed in the Atlantic Avenue subway station. He and Catherine Grau are the curators of Chance Ecologies.


Catherine Grau works as an artist and curator in the field of social practice with a special focus on ecology and pedagogy. Her projects are participatory and often employ installation, objects and performance scores as a means of facilitating shifts in thinking, behavior and perception. She has helped create large-scale participatory and collaborative public art projects internationally, and in 2015, co-founded Chance Ecologies with Stephen Zacks and Nathan Kensinger.

Sarah Wright photo DSC_8091 small

Sarah Nelson Wright is a Brooklyn based artist and educator who creates media projects about the urban experience that explore the changing city and investigate avenues for intervention. Her work encompasses video, installation, interactive media and public art. She is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Marymount Manhattan College.


Edrex Fontanilla is a new media artist whose creative practice fuses sculptural and computational  methods to explore perception, materiality, and temporality. He researches how the study of human  psychology and cognition can inform approaches in experimental media. He is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at Marymount Manhattan College.

dillon de give photo DSC_6297

Dillon de Give is an artist and educator whose work explores issues of social and ecological cohabitation. He is a co-founder of the Walk Exchange, a cooperative walking group, and organizes the annual Coyote Itinerancy, a retreat that traces a footpath between New York City and the wild.


Ellie Irons is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn, New York, who works in a variety of media, from walks to WIFI to gardening, to reveal how human and nonhuman lives intertwine with other earth systems. Recent work focuses on plants, people and urban ecology in the so-called Anthropocene. Irons teaches part time at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

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Mar 19, 2017
7:30 pm – 10:00 pm
Free – $10.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States

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