Chance Ecologies: Queens
Public Symposium

Chance Ecologies: Queens is an exhibit of new works, artistic gestures and research projects engaging with the undesigned and wild growing landscapes found in post-industrial sites, landfills and other liminal spaces around Queens, which will be on view at the Queens Museum’s Community Partnerships Gallery from October 8th to 30th. As part of this exhibit, please join the artists and curators of Chance Ecologies on Sunday October 23rd for a public symposium, composed of film screenings, artist talks, and a facilitated public discussion about the underlying themes of Chance Ecologies. The Chance Ecologies Symposium will take place inside the theatre of the Queens Museum, and in the Community Partnership Gallery.

12-1:30pm: Chance Ecologies in Motion
A screening of new video works by Joianne Bittle, Laura Chipley, Nate Dorr, Maya Edelman, Dylan Gauthier, Nathan Kensinger, Edmund Mooney, Matthias Neumann, and Natalia Roumelioti (ntilit)

Over the past two summers, the artists of Chance Ecologies have engaged with three different sites in Queens: Hunter’s Point South, the Newtown Creek and the Flushing River. The works in this screening present a wide range of responses to these post-industrial sites, ranging from collaborative performances to solitary explorations, and employ a variety of film techniques, including stop motion animation, underwater recordings, and drone footage. Each of these films is a unique creation inspired by a different aspect of these landscapes, and when viewed together, they present a larger picture of the ideas informing Chance Ecologies. The screening will be following by a Q&A with the artists. Please click here for more information on the screenings.

1:30—2pm: Chance Ecologies on View
Gallery walk and refreshments

The curators of Chance Ecologies will lead a walk-through of Chance Ecologies: Queens, the current exhibit in the Queens Museum Community Partnerships Gallery, giving an overview of the ideas behind Chance Ecologies. Several artists, include Kristyna and Marek Milde, Marisa Tesauro, and Joianne Bittle, will be present to give details about their individual works. Light refreshments will be provided.

2—3:30pm: Creatively Engaging Chance Ecologies
Artist talks by Dillon de Give, Ellie Irons, Edrex Fontanilla and Sarah Nelson Wright

Chance Ecologies: Queens includes a variety of creative approaches to engaging with flora and fauna found in post-industrial urban wildernesses. These artist talks will take a deeper look into three different approaches to the landscape, from walking to seed collecting to virtual reality.

Coyote Walk Project
Dillon de Give will speak about the Coyote Walk Itinerancy, a short walking residency which he has been leading annually for 8 years. Originally inspired by Hal, a wild coyote that appeared in New York City in 2006, the project examines and traces greenspace channels running through NYC and surrounding wilds. This talk will begin in the Community Partnerships Gallery, move to the Panorama of New York City, and end in the Queens Museum theater.

Vegetative Resistance: Weeds and Wildness in Human Dominated Landscapes
Ellie Irons works with cosmopolitan spontaneous plants that thrive in landscapes heavily impacted by human activity. Often described as weeds, they provide a starting point for exploring nativeness, invasion, gentrification and the future of land use in the face of global climate change. As we concern ourselves with big questions of globalization, mass extinction, and climate change, we exert control in small ways by attempting to restore or cultivate landscape fragments to mimic historical ideals. As we pour resources into such measures, what are we losing, erasing, eradicating? Expanding from these questions, Irons will explore the tale of one particular weedy species: Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis), while raising questions about human and vegetative agency in the so-called Anthropocene.

Hidden Vistas: Empathy and Place in Virtual Reality Installations
What does it mean to have empathy for a place? How can we use cutting edge technologies such as virtual reality and 360° video to immerse a viewer in places that no longer exist? That are too difficult to find? Too hazardous to visit? Edrex Fontanilla and Sarah Nelson Wright share their creative process of applying “the empathy machine” to wild geographies.

3:30—4:30pm: Digging into Chance Ecologies
A public discussion led by the curators of Chance Ecologies and Daniel Campo

The closing event of this daylong symposium will open up a larger conversation amongst the artists and participants of Chance Ecologies, lead by co-curators Catherine Grau and Nathan Kensinger and by Daniel Campo, author of “The Accidental Playground.” This discussion will consider the underlying themes of Chance Ecologies: What is the importance of unplanned green spaces? What types of ecologies can thrive in liminal, post-industrial landscapes, and why? How can we responsibly interact with and advocate for these spaces? What is the role of artists and creativity and community in these spaces? How can chance ecological landscapes becomes sites of new relational structures between humans, the environment and other species? What will happen to these spaces in the future, as the city faces challenges caused by rising sea levels and climate change?

Image by Nathan Kensinger