With my new position at Florida International University, I’m beginning an arts research lab focused on biophilic arts and nature connection. This is the next step in incorporating my forest bathing and horticultural therapy training into my creative practice, and it also follows up on my history with urban gardening and plant-based-food art projects.

Last night I recorded my first direct collaboration with a plant, whose sounds I recorded using biofeedback signals input to MIDI. The recording is from Gynura bicolor, also known as hongfeng cai, 紅鳳菜, or Okinawan spinach. It took some time for the plant to get used to the pickup sensors on its leaf. But as we touched, the signal began to flow more smoothly. It’s also my first use of synthesizer instruments, which I layered in 3 tracks from 3 different recordings. Mostly I’m taken with how the interpretation of the plant language is transformed by the instruments I chose for the MIDI signal. I’d love to talk to other artists about how to negotiate these choices in translation.

The recording is available through the embedded player below. Please let me know what you think:

In July I completed an art residency focused on the theme of Immersion with the School of Making Thinking. The amazing Dan Brawley of Cucalorus Film Festival was our gracious host in Wilmington, NC. I can’t thank him enough for his hospitality. This fall I will be working on refining the rough cut of my first VR/360 video project in collaboration with my generous, ambitious, and energetic collaborator, Betsy Holt. You can read more about the residency here: http://www.encorepub.com/immersive-impressions-artists-convene-in-wilmington-to-figure-out-new-applications-of-virtual-reality-media/

I’m also pleased to announce my new position as an Assistant Professor in the Art and Art History Department of the College of Communication, Architecture, and the Arts at Florida International University. See you in Miami!


Old image from a book published in the turn of the century, illustrating the movement of footsteps using arrows and graphics of footprints. The word "driftwood" is layered in brown over the image, which is a pastel yellow.

On Sunday June 4th from 5-7pm, I’ll be introducing a new project at the 6th Annual Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival.

Driftwood is a contemplative, guided walk informed by environmentally-focused healing practices such as shinrin yoku (forest bathing), horticultural therapy, and ecotherapy. Participants will explore the connections between wellness and outdoor access while learning about the immigrant history of Eckhart Park.

The walk begins promptly at 5pm at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Ave. We will be outside for two hours, so please dress for the weather and bring anything you need to feel comfortable.

Admission to this event is FREE. Here is the Facebook link with instructions on how to register: https://www.facebook.com/events/190212254836317/

Please consider purchasing a one-day pass for the festival to attend the Sunday 7pm performances by Mikey McParlane, Erica Gressman, and Carlos Salazar Lermont. You can also get 2-day or 4-day festival passes at www.tiny.cc/RapidPulseTix.

Here’s a link to the Facebook page and information from the organizers follows below:

The 2017 Rapid Pulse Festival embraces the theme: Retrospect. This edition looks back at our first five years by inviting alumni artists to present new works. Rapid Pulse takes place June 1-4, 2017, at Defibrillator Gallery, 1463 W Chicago Avenue, in the Noble Square neighborhood, West Town, Chicago. The festival launches on Thursday, June 1 at 7pm with a Vernissage. Performances will take place from Friday, June 2 to Sunday, June 4 at various times.Visit rapidpulse.org or DFBRL8R.org for current information.

The Sixth Annual Rapid Pulse features live performances by the following alumni:

2012 | Industry of the Ordinary | Michael Thomas/Lucky Pierre
2013 | Fereshteh Toosi | Carlos Salazar Lermont
2014 | Alison Crocetta + Peter Reese | Diaz Lewis | Mikey McParlane + Erica Gressman
2015 | Ayana Evans
2016 | Eli K Gold

In addition to live performances, each day of Rapid Pulse includes a Video Program and STǓ, a curated late-night post-performance soup kitchen. Co-curators Giana Gambino and Joseph Ravens have kept the festival intimate in order to focus on the digital and physical archives from the first five editions of the festival. Rapid Pulse 2017 will debut prototypes for five catalogs, one for each edition, 2012-16. This retrospective concludes a series and marks the end of the festival in its current format. Following a hiatus, Rapid Pulse will return in new form to champion performance art.

On Saturday April 22nd, I’ll share my Significant Surfaces and Wild Lines projects at the Open Engagement conference which takes place in Chicago this year. My talk is called “Towards a philosophy of socially-engaged photography” and it will start at 3:00pm in the UIC Gallery 400 Lecture Room.

In related news, Janet M., who participated in Significant Surfaces and is featured in Wild Lines 1, will be featured in a new production called The Homeless Monologues at the Goodman Theater.

Janet tells me she’s really excited to have her stories performed by a professional actor. She’s been spending more time doing outreach and educating the public about homelessness, and she’s looking forward to going to a conference in DC as a member of the Lincoln Park Community Shelter Associate Board. All the funds raised at this event will benefit the Lincoln Park Community Shelter where Janet is a devoted volunteer.

We hope to see you at one or both of these events!

* “Open Engagement (OE) is an annual, three-day, artist-led conference dedicated to expanding the dialogue around and creating a site of care for the field of socially engaged art. The conference highlights the work of transdisciplinary artists, activists, students, scholars, community members, and organizations working within the complex social issues and struggles of our time.” Find out more at http://openengagement.info/

I’ll be tabling today at a community event hosted by StoryCorps, Cabrini Green Legal Aid, Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, Community Renewal Society, Growing Home, Free Write and Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois.

Dismantling Barriers to Life is a speak out about the impacts of mass incarceration. The event will also serve as a space for people to think through ways of collectively building resistance and taking action.

Event Highlights:

  • Audio stories recorded in partnership with StoryCorps
  • Panel discussion on ‘Barriers to Life’
  • Peace Circles facilitated by Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation
  • Share & connect to advocacy organizations

MC’ed by Colette Payne and Marlon Chamberlain.

Colette Payne is an organizer, leader, student, mother, and grandmother. Since 2014, Colette has acted as the head of the Visible Voices program for the CLAIM (Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers) Program and now serves as the Community Organizer for Cabrini Green Legal Aid. In 2015 Colette joined the delegation to assess women’s prisons in Illinois, becoming the first formerly-incarcerated woman to serve in this role in the entire United States. Colette was also selected as a 2016 Fellow for JustLeadershipUSA.

Marlon Chamberlain was released from Federal Prison on May 29, 2012 after serving 10 years. Following his release, he began working with the F.O.R.C.E. Project (Fighting To Overcome Records & Create Equality), an initiative of the Community Renewal Society led by people with records, and currently serves as its Organizer. Marlon is also a student at Kennedy King College in pursuit of his Master’s degree in Social Work. He is a devoted family man, who continues to put his faith into action by building relationships with congregations and like-minded people to fight against racism, discrimination, and poverty.

Light refreshments will be served. Doors open at 12:30PM. For accessibility needs please contact Chicago@StoryCorps.org. To RSVP, please visit the Eventbrite page.