Art + Science + Creativity (Squared)
CHESTERTOWN, MD — The title of Natalie Jeremijenko’s upcoming SANDBOX Spring Lecture at Washington College says a lot about the playful approach she takes to addressing serious environmental issues: “On Cross Dressing Bicycles, Wrestling Rhinoceros Beetles, Flowering Buildings and Hula Hooping to address the pollinator crisis, or What is an Environmental Health Clinic and why would they pay me to ride my bike?”
Her talk, which kicks off a weekend of environmentally themed arts events titled “Sensing Change,” will take place Thursday, April 3, at 5 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Arts Center, on the Washington College campus (300 Washington Avenue). It is free and open to the public.
Jeremijenko’s lecture is just the beginning of what promises to be a memorable three-day visit from the visionary artist and technologist. She will spend the following two days, April 4 and 5, engaging with Washington College students and the community on the kinds of projects that SANDBOX — officially titled The Washington College Program for Creativity and the Environment — was founded to foster.
Jeremijenko is an assistant professor of art and the founder and director of the xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at New York University. The Clinic provides “prescriptions” for actions its “impatients” can take to remedy environmental health threats such as air and water pollution. Its projects have included “Farmacy AgBags” that grow nutritious food in urban settings, robotic dogs that sniff out environmental toxins, and “butterfly bridges” that offer the insects safe passage across roads and trails. In a major installation covered in a New York Times Magazine article titled, “The Artist who Talks to the Fishes,” she installed a system of buoys and sensors that allowed people to send texts to the fish and monitor the water quality in a section of New York’s East River.
Jeremijenko earned undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and physics and a Ph.D. in computer science and electrical engineering in her native Australia, and then furthered her graduate studies in neuroscience and mechanical engineering in the U.S. This thorough immersion in science and engineering, combined with her wildly original conceptual art, makes her a perfect choice to speak as part of SANDBOX, which celebrates environmental projects at that intersection of art and science.
Castro, an artist and architect who teaches courses on environmental art and the creative process, expects that collaborating with Jeremijenko will be an experience students will not soon forget. “Natalie truly is a rock star of the art/science world,” he says, “and I’m excited to see what will inspire her most while she is here. We certainly could not have found a better embodiment of what SANDBOX is all about. She perfectly represents that fertile mix of scientific and artistic creativity that is the basis of the program. I think she’ll leave her imprint on us in many lasting ways. Plan to buckle up and hold on tight.”
(For information on the rest of the Sensing Change programming April 3-6, please click here.
Photo courtesy of AfroMusing.