Emergent Ecologies

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Emergent ecologies are being fastened into place with new rivets and cyborg articulations. Amidst collapsing systems, unruly assemblages are flourishing and proliferating in unexpected places. Microbes that become emergent diseases—by finding novel exploits, pathways of transmission, or modes of existence—can quickly transform dominant political strategies, economic systems, or agricultural practices.  Emergences can also figure into collective hopes.  When a forest is clear-cut by loggers or destroyed by a volcanic eruption, emergent plants are the first to sprout.


Kirksey, Eben (2015) Emergent Ecologies. Durham: Duke University Press.

“A praise song for the possibilities of bricolage, Emergent Ecologies is a postmodern natural history in which displaced ants, macaques, frogs, and flies tumble with philosophy, performance art, science, and adventure story.  Eben Kirksey takes us on a wild ride through a funhouse of risky and ironic entanglements.”  — Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, author of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Read the Introduction of Emergent Ecologies for free.
Buy the ebook: Amazon Kindle or Kobo




Emergent Ecologies Art Exhibit

Featuring over 90 wild artists
April 30th -May 21st, 2016
Kilroy, 283 Greene Ave, Brooklyn, 11238


Curated by a swarm: Eben Kirksey, Lissette Olivares, Ellie Irons, Grace Glovier, Cody Kohn, Kayli Marshall, Greg Umali, Alexandra Palocz, Jeffrey Bussolini, and Cheto Castellano.

Emergent Ecologies featured bioart installations, living sculptures, paintings, photographs, and digital media.  Rather than be a static exhibit, that stayed the same from the opening and closing dates, our project involved playing with the “hap” of what happens. Happiness, in the Old English sense of the word, means having “good hap” or fortune. We conducted experiments with happiness and glass, breaking down boundaries (and constructing new ones) to see what ecological communities would emerge.

Works by Maria Aiolova, Marcela Anabalón, Patricia Alvarez, Krisanne Baker, Steve Barrett, Tarsh Bates, Peter Bauer, Vaughn Bell, Karin Bolender, Rogan Brown, Chloe Byrne, Natalia Cabezas + Montserrat Negrete, Corinne Cappelletti, Cheto Castellano, Alonso Cedillo, Sophia Chao, Atom Cianfarani, Tatiana Czekalska + Leszek Golec, Krista Dragomer, J. D. Doria, Anna Dumitriu, Ellen Driscoll, Grayson Earle, Melanie Fessel, Ivan Fuentealba, Regina José Galindo, Mikhail Gervits, Grace Glovier, Yucel Guven, Christian Hamrick, Shandor Hassan, Andrea Haenggi, Elena Tejada Herrera, Kathy High, Jeff Hoelle, Susan Hoenig, Henry Horn, Ellie Irons, Antonia Isaacson, Maca Jimenez, Mitchell Joachim, Sharon Kallis, Anja Kanngieser, Christopher Kennedy, David Khang, Katie King, Eben Kirksey, Kitch, Michael Klingler, Cody Kohn, Miguel Lantigua-Inoa, Lian Lian, Lenore Malen, Matsya, Jane Marsching, Mary Martin, Alex May, Laura McLauchlan, Felipe Molina, Lucia Monge, Sung Moon, Leila Nadir, Eli Neira, NEOZOON, Juan Olivares, Lissette Olivares, Terreform ONE, Alexandra Palocz, Cary Peppermint, Anne Percoco, Eva Perrotta, Angela Petsis, Praba Pilar, Deanna Pindell, Prima and other suspects from the Center for Feline Studies, Danny Reveco Appelger, Peter Richards, Coco Rico, Shark Roth, Christy Rupp, Robyn Shapiro, Sin Kabeza Production, Annie Sprinkle + Beth Stephens, Polly Stanton, Anna-Sophie Springer + Etienne Turpin, Karolina Sobecka, Andi Sutton, Matthew Tarpley, Anaïs Tondeur + Marine Legrand, Vandra Thorburn, Marlene Tseng Yu, Greg Umali, Anuj Vaidya, Kamila Varela, Vesper, Artemisia vulgaris, Ruth Wallen, Maria Whiteman, Amanda Yates, JiaChen Xu, Adam Zaretsky, and a multitude of other creative agents.

Past Events

Emergent Ecologies Exhibit Closing: Saturday, May 21st
Open gallery hours: 2pm-12 midnight
2-3pm Discussion: “Hope in an Era of Extinction” (James Hatley, Ashley Dawson, Eben Kirksey, and others TBA)
3pm Performance: “Endangered Frog Giveaway” (Eben Kirksey)
3:30pm Performance: “elephant museum part II with apoetry and contra currency release” (Juan Olivares) 
4-5pm Discussion: “Dying Oaks & Grief” (Ruth Wallen & Ellie Irons)
5pm Performance: Cookie, therapy dog diva (Tatiana Carino, diva handler)
5:30pm Film screening: “ENTRETEJIDO” (Patricia Alvarez)
6pm Film screening: “Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story” (Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens)
7:30pm-12midnight, Queer Circuits in Archival Times,  with performances by Sandy Stone, Nica Ross/Ginger Brooks, + DJ set “Signal Chain: Transduction Function”

Saturday,  May 14th: 4-7pm  Performance
VIEW the Terreform ONE Cricket Shelter modular pod housing a live cricket farm. EAT delicious Seek™ bite-sized snacks made with a healthy blend of cricket protein powder, dried fruit, nuts and spices. DRINK ‘Cricktails’: cocktails blended with home-made cricket infused vodka, enhanced with cricket fossil ice cubes. EXPLORE the process through polaroid photo documentation.  RSVP on Facebook

Saturday,  May 14th: 7-8pm  Performance
I Hate America and America Hates Me ” (Cheto Castellano)

audience discretion advised.

This auto-ethnographic performance will explore the conflicted affects of life as an immigrant in the United States of America. In this new iteration Castellano turns to both the figure and embodied history of the Coyote, referencing the border crossers who participate in human trafficking across State borders, and the plight of the real animal, who is systematically hunted as a pest in the US borderlands.

Saturday,  May 14th: 8-10pm  Film Screenings
Galalithe” Soil Fictions (Anaïs Tondeur & Marine Legrand)
Quadrupedal Hominid Galloping” (Shark Roth)
Scenes from Paradise” (Lenore Malen)

This Woman Sexual Fantasy Series” ( Elena Tejada Herrera)
ENTRETEJIDO” (Patricia Alvarez)
Doves and Birds Feeding Together” (Alonso Cedillo)
Diotheo Dep” (Maria Thereza Alves)
Emergent Ecologies: Parasites” (Eben Kirksey)
Blued Trees” (Aviva Rahmani)
handholds” (Kara Wentworth)

Sunday, May 15th, 4-8pm Performances + Film Screening 
The Next Epoch Seed Library Presents: On Weediness (Dance, Movement, Vegetative Life)
on weediness
Movement Program 4-6 pm, RSVP on Facebook
Including Performances and Workshops by: Corinne Cappelletti and Eva Perrotta, Christopher Kennedy, Lucia Monge, Artemisia vulgaris, and Andrea Haenggi.

Saturday, May 7th: 7-10pm Film screenings
“Carrie, the World’s Most Famous Dancing Dog” (Sin Kabeza Productions) NY Premiere
“Wine Dark Plastic Sea” (Anand Pandian)
“Lil Bub & Friendz” (VICE) with guest appearance by Jeffrey Bussolini
“My BBY 8L3W” (Neozoon)
“Untitled” (Nao Bustamante & Fufu)
“Madame Butterfly” (David Khang)
“El Enemigo Interno (Eli Neira)
“Oveja Negra” (Regina José Galindo)
“On Eating Cows”(Alonso Cedillo)

NYC Emergence: Emergent Ecologies Opening, April 30th
Virtual traces on Facebook
“The Elephant Museum” (Juan Olivares)
“Cricket Shelter” performative collaboration by Robyn Shapiro (The Lowline) with Terreform ONE
“Mutant Fruit Fly Exchange” (Eben Kirksey)
Exciting Pressure Release” followed by “OS Fermentation” (Cary Peppermint & Leila Nadir, EcoArtTech*).  This EcoArtTech installation was made possible, in part, by the Franklin Furnace Fund supported by The SHS Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and general operating support from the New York State Council on the Arts.
Bipolar Flowers” (Adam Zaretsky)


Larval Emergence + CloudServices Release
Saturday, June 18th: 6-11pm
Kilroy, 283 Greene Ave, Brooklyn, 11238

Cloud Services is a proposal for using the atmosphere as media for data storage and transmission. Clouds teem with microbes which are transferred worldwide in air masses and water cycle. Data encoded in their DNA can be universally distributed.  We will conduct a field test of Cloud Services technology by releasing microorganisms into the atmospheric biome.  Our release party will be accompanied by tunes produced by the Larval Rock Stars and other special events.

Emergent Ecologies, February 29th-March 31st, 2016

Princeton University, Butler College, Studio ’34 Cafe.

Hope in a Time of Extinction, February 24th, 2016
James Gallery, The Graduate Center, City University of New York

For more background on the ideas animating this show, check out Emergent Ecologies, a new book from Duke University Press. https://www.dukeupress.edu/emergent-ecologies


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a companion to the book