NATURELab/iEAR Presents! A Conversation with Mary Mattingly

Date(s) - Wednesday 03/23/2016
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm

WHERE:  The Sanctuary for Independent Media, 3361 6th Ave. (between Glen and 101st St.)

A conversation with Mary Mattingly, sharing her projects on the Hudson with folks from Troy. Mary works with community members on the creation of sculptural ecosystems in urban spaces. Her projects include “wearable homes” to “floating food forests,” habitats inspired by patterns of local human migration.

We’ll brainstorm with Mary about NATURE Lab, sharing some projects from our neighborhood’s shores along the toxic Hudson River estuary:

  • Brandon Ballengee’s Eco-Displacement Uptown Summer Workshops
  • Floating Filtration Islands (proposed projects, with Scott Kellogg)
  • DIY Citizen Science Lab
  • and more!

Finally, we’ll have a free-for-all idea development session about potential art projects and creative actions at the Ingalls Ave. Boat Launch  and around North Troy— with the hopes that some may be realized!

Following this community conversation, Mary Mattingly will deliver the lecture
Co-creative Encounters: Ecosystems, Place, and the Political
” at at 7:30 at the BioTech Center,Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This is an iEAR Presents! event from the Arts Department, in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.








Mary Mattingly creates sculptural ecosystems in urban spaces. She is currently working on a floating food forest for New York called “Swale” and recently completed a two-part sculpture “Pull” for the International Havana Biennial with the Museo National de Belles Artes de la Habana and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Mary Mattingly’s work has been exhibited at the International Center of Photography, the Seoul Art Center, the Brooklyn Museum, the New York Public Library, deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, and the Palais de Tokyo. With the U.S. Department of State and Bronx Museum of the Arts she participated in the smARTpower project, traveling to Manila. In 2009 Mattingly founded the Waterpod Project, a barge-based public space and self-sufficient habitat that hosted over 200,000 visitors in New York. In 2014, an artist residency on the water called WetLand launched in Philadelphia. It is being utilized by UPenn’s Environmental Humanities program. She also recently installed a partially under water bridge in Des Moines. She has been awarded grants and fellowships from the James L. Knight Foundation, Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology, Yale University School of Art, the Harpo Foundation, NYFA, the Jerome Foundation, and the Art Matters Foundation. Her work has been featured in Aperture Magazine, Art in America, Artforum, Art+Auction, Art News, Sculpture Magazine, China Business News, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Financial Times, Le Monde Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, the Brooklyn Rail, the Village Voice, and on BBC News, MSNBC, Fox News, News 12, NPR, WNBC, New York 1, and on Art21’s New York Close Up series. Her work has been included in books such as the Whitechapel/MIT Press Documents of Contemporary Art series titled “Nature” and edited by Jeffrey Kastner, Triple Canopy’s Speculations, the Future Is… published by Artbook, and Henry Sayre’s A World of Art, 8th edition, published by Pearson Education Inc. 

A Utopian Turn – Manifesto for a Nonviolent Art

Mary Mattingly, 2015 (excerpt)

In every way, shape, and form, we are at war. A Manifesto for Nonviolent Art proclaims that art and utopian thought can cultivate systemic social change. Art can transform people’s perceptions about value, and collective art forms can reframe predominant ideologies.

1. A Violent Economic Order:

From the supply chain to the landfill, if our systems of production, trade, and consumption use the social and ecological space of others, it is a form of violence.

(Art and) A Nonviolent Economic Order:

Make all works of art without participating in economies of violence. Boycott so-called Free Trade, companies that participate in slave labor, or militia-managed extraction. Demand fair wages on behalf of silenced workers and build informal, cross-border supply chains within interdependent Art World networks.

2. A Violent Political Order:

Since supplying social services interferes with the military industrial power structure, military spending in the U.S. will continue to dominate and define the political order, and the US will continue making war in perpetuity.

(Art and) A Nonviolent Political Order:

Imagine and realize the replacement of war economies, war propaganda, and dominant strategies that oppress. Strengthen an understanding that a military approach fuels arms races, human rights abuses, and weakens economically hallowed-out States. Use social capital to transform multinational governing bodies like the *U.N. to be fair while working to dismantle war organizations like NATO.

3. A Violent Education:

The business of education and compartmentalized forms of learning best serves the people we work for, and those that they work for. With steady erosion of job security, it leaves us dependent while increasing their control.

 (Art and) A Nonviolent Education:

Share underrepresented histories. Expand school curriculums and individual classes to include mutual education around peace, and nonviolence training towards active compassion. Flip the so-called script.

4. A violent ecological order:

As increased desertification, land degradation, and water privatization continue to fuel global wars through droughts, famine, and resulting forced migration, investors trade in weather derivatives and reinsurance, profiting from ecological disasters.

(Art and) A Nonviolent Ecological Order:

Work towards worlds where humans serve as caretakers and stewards rather than private owners. Help to recognize the reciprocity of commons and indigenous rights to land, while protecting it from being sold off. Help to disempower the word “own”.

5. A Violent Social Order:

Collective traumas are known to change our collective sense of what is possible.

(Art and) A Nonviolent Social Order:

Reset the dial by working together on utopian projects. Be a transgressor and an empathic lover. Promote difference not indifference. Remember that we have bigger battles to fight than those we may want to fight against each other.

6. Working Towards a Nonviolent Art.

How can we dedicate ourselves to living nonviolently, today? This is not an ambitious question – it’s an essential one. In art and life, create flexible and inclusive schemes for living that encompass respect, non-hierarchy, nonviolence, and tolerance. Art making is powerful; and a nonviolent art is a duty.

Bodies such as the UN can be useful and fair, if:

  • It stops favoring rich nations.
  • It represents Latin America and Africa, not just North America, Europe and Asia.
  • It prohibits the abuse of war in self-defense.
  • Veto power is taken away from most powerful countries.
  • It enforces labor and environmental laws.