September 29, 2016

Field school, lectures focus on ecology and art

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The flow of a river changes slowly over time unless transformed by cataclysmic events. The organizers of a day-long field school invite participants to visit the Ohio-Tennessee Valley watershed to see an example of a cataclysmic change and to learn about it not just in the context of industry and ecology, but also in the context of natural and artificial. 

The Global Media Research Center, School of Art and Design Art History Endowment and the Graduate Philosophy Union at Southern Illinois University Carbondale join forces to offer the day-long group trip on Oct. 7 and two lectures on Oct. 6. 

The field school has a participation cap of 21 people. The field school is free and open to students from any majors and to community members. The Tennessee Valley Authority operates a series of 50 dams based on the Tennessee River and its tributaries. The dams control floods and provide electricity to virtually all of Tennessee and parts of some neighboring states as well as contributing to significant recreational opportunities. Participants in the field school will learn about how this decades-long project has reshaped the landscape and some of the ecological challenges the area faces. To make a reservation and get specific information about itinerary, contact Sarah Lewison, associate professor of radio, television and digital media, at

The “Talks on Art and Ecology: Poetics, Theory, Practice” are on Oct. 6. At 4:30 p.m., Claire Pentecost will talk about her interdisciplinary work as an artist and writer. She’ll be in the University Museum Auditorium. A reception follows. 

Pentecost has a longstanding interest in concepts of nature and artificiality and applies it to projects pertaining to industrial agriculture and agroecology and issues related to climate change. She is professor and chair of photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Brian Holmes and Alejandro Meitin will deliver their presentation, “Who Designs the Landscape? Who Lives in It?” beginning at 7 p.m. in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. 

Holmes is an essayist, cultural critic and cartographer. His essays are often about art, political economy and grassroots resistance. Meitin, an artist, lawyer and environmental activist, is the co-founder of Ala Plástica, an art and environmental organization based in La Plata, Argentina.

The SIU Fine Arts Activity Fee contributed funding for these events.