Taking It to the Streets: Artists, Scientists & Sustainability

Tuesday, December 2, 2014 | 6:00pm - 8:00pm

20 Cooper Square, 7th Floor

Theatrum Mundi, the Institute for Public Knowledge hosted City as Living Laboratory on a panel discussion surrounding the 2014 WALKS series, which support CaLL’s larger mission of making sustainability tangible through the arts.

Three student teams at New York University, led by Professor Gianpaolo Baiocchi, presented their related work in the form of 3-5-minute documentaries that they’ve shot and edited over the course of the semester in Harlem, Chinatown, and the Garment District. All of the documentaries focus on environmental issues in the respective neighborhoods.

Following the documentary presentations, a panel of artists/scientists who have led CaLL WALKS in these neighborhoods presented their work.


Mary Miss artist

Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Associate Professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University

Dr. P. Timon McPhearson, Urban Ecologist

Tattfoo Tan, Artist

Adeola Enigbokan, Artist, Environmental Psychologist

CaLL/WALKS are a series of walking dialogues between artists and scientists. CaLL began conducting WALKS along Broadway in 2011 at the invitation of the Municipal Arts Society. Building on earlier walks that have spanned the 18-mile length of Broadway, the WALKS present focus on three hubs of the avenue: Harlem, Garment District, and Chinatown. The artist/scientist teams discussed, between themselves and the public, a variety of environmental challenges along the Broadway corridor, with particular focus on surrounding neighborhoods.


MARY MISS has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design, and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues of our time. She has developed the "City as Living Lab", a framework for making issues of sustainability tangible through collaboration and the arts. Trained as a sculptor, her work creates situations emphasizing a site’s history, its ecology, or aspects of the environment that have gone unnoticed.

Mary Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists, and public administrators on projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City or turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. Recent projects include: Ravenswood/ CaLL in Long Island City, NYC, FLOW (Can You See The River?), Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana, an installation focused on water resources in China for the Olympic Park in Beijing, and a temporary installation at a seventeenth-century park in Delhi, India as part of the exhibition 49°: Public Art and Ecology.

MM/CaLL is currently working on BROADWAY: 1000 Steps in New York City and Indianapolis/ City as Living Lab, which is supported by a National Science Foundation Grant. A recipient of multiple awards, Mary Miss has been the subject of exhibitions at the Harvard University Art Museum, Brown University Gallery, The Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Architectural Association in London, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and the Des Moines Art Center. Among others, her work has been included in the exhibitions: Decoys, Complexes and Triggers at the Sculpture Center in New York, Weather Report: Art and Climate Change curated by Lucy Lippard, co-presented by the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and EcoArts Connections, More Than Minimal: Feminism and Abstraction in the 70’s, Brandeis Museum’s Rose Art Museum, and Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis at the Tate Modern.

GIANPAOLO BAIOCCHI is an Associate Professor in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. He is a sociologist and an ethnographer interested in questions of politics and culture, critical social theory, and cities. He has written about and continues to research instances of actually existing civic life both in his native Brazil and in the US. He is a leading social science expert on participatory democracy who has for the last decade engaged public officials, voluntary organizations, and policy makers on the practice and implementation of participatory processes.

His most recent ethnographic research, just published as The Civic Imagination  (co-authored with Elizabeth Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Stephanie Savell, and Peter Klein), examines the contours and limits of the democratic conversation in the US today and argues for a reparative, but critical intervention in that discussion. He directs the Gallatin School’s civic engagement efforts, and is leading a new initiative, the Urban Democracy Lab, a space that seeks to promote dialogue around critical, global, and innovative urbanisms. At IPK, Baiocchi currently leads, along with Director Eric Klinenberg, the faculty working group on Cities, Culture, and Climate Change initiative, which brings together scholars on the issues of urban environmentalism.

ADEOLA ENIGBOKAN is an artist, researcher, writer and teacher based in New York City. Her artistic/research practice involves creating interventions, which provide alternative frameworks for experiencing the city. This practice involves working at street level combining historical artifacts and archives, everyday public spaces and esoteric knowledge with habitual urban practices to create opportunities in which participants might reconsider their own ways of thinking and moving in the city. She has presented work in diverse venues: Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow, The Center for Independent Social Research, Saint Petersburg, El Museo del Barrio, ConfluxCity Festival, Anthology Film Archive in New York, The Royal Institute for British Architects, The Royal Geographical Society in London and The Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Enigbokan holds an MPhil in Anthropology from The New School for Social Research. She teaches courses in Urban Studies, Media Studies, Sociology and Anthropology at universities in New York City, while completing a PhD in Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York.

TATTFOO TAN’S art practice seeks to find an immediate, direct and effective way of exploring issues related to the individuals in society, through which we collapse the categories of ‘art’ and ‘life’ into one. Through the employment of multiple forms of media and various platforms of presentation, Tattfoo promotes group participation between himself and an ‘audience’. Within this collaborate practice, both minds and bodies are engaged in actions that transform the making of art into a ritualized and shared experience. In keeping with the spirit of this transformative act, Tattfoo prefers to develop projects that are ephemeral and conceptual in nature. Tattfoo has presented, collaborated and shown his works in various venues and institutions including: Staten Island Arts, Queens Museum of Art, Tenement Museum, The City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for the Arts, Eugene Land College/New School for Liberal Arts, Artisphere, Parsons the New School for Design, Fashion Institute of Technology, 601Tully/Syracuse University, Macalester College, Creative Time Reports, Aljira – A Center for Contemporary Art, Project Row Houses, Smack Mellon, Contemporary Arts Center – Cincinnati, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, The Pulitzer Art Foundation and the Laundromat Project. He has been recognized for his effort, service and artistic contributions to the community, and is a proud recipient of proclamation from The City of New York. He was also given the Twenty-Eighth Annual Award for Excellence in Design by Public Design Commission of the City of New York for his design and branding of the Super-Graphic on Bronx River Art Center.

DR. P. TIMON MCPHEARSON is Assistant Professor of Urban Ecology at The New School’s Tishman Environment and Design Center in New York City where he teaches urban ecology, sustainability and resilience. He earned his Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University, held a postdoc at Columbia University, and worked as a biodiversity scientist at the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. His research seeks to improve resilience and sustainability of urban social-ecological systems including the EU funded Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) project, the MillionTreesNyc Urban Forest Restoration study, the ICLEI Urban Biosphere (URBIS) Initiative, and the UN CBD Cities and Biodiversity Outlook (CBO), a global assessment of urban biodiversity and ecosystem services.