Art/Science Blender

Upcoming: will be presenting multinaturalhistories at MIT Knight Fellow Eli Kintisch's Art/Science Blender next week, Monday April 1st at Harvard GSD.  Here is the link


Announcing launch of curatorial project in collaboration with Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more info see

Assembly Call: Proposal for Radcliffe Public Art Installation

Installation for Interspecies Reconciliation

The Turkey and the Territory

The wild turkey has long been a culturally significant animal for humans inhabiting what is now New England#. However, despite its importance to natives and colonists alike, the wild turkey was extirpated from the territory around the time of the founding of the United States - though not before cementing a prominent position through the myths Benjamin Franklin’s national bird preference and the story of Thanksgiving. The current population of Cantabrigian wild turkeys are the result of a 1972-75 interstate translocation program. 37 Live-trapped New York turkeys released in the Berkshires eventually provided the 561 progeny for 26 releases around the state between 1979 and 1996. Previous restoration attempts failed as biologists used penn-raised turkeys not realizing that survival behaviors are learned, not instinctual. However, as wild turkeys migrate into urban ecosystems like Harvard Square, human-turkey cultural differences must be negotiated in order for the utopian reintroduction programs of the 1970s to come to fruition.

The Encounter

Boston media increasingly report stories of human-turkey conflict. Dominant Toms intimidate humans they perceive as submissive. Reflective material on cars and other objects can unleash a pecking frenzy. However,  this project is grounded in the immanent potential of the wild interspecies encounter and the hopes for it to act as a catalyst for a post-natural ontology demanded by the unfolding crisis in environmental culture embodied in a geological theory of the anthropocene. At it’s base the project will supply optimal turkey habitat using an array of native late fruiting plants to supply these large birds with food and shelter throughout the course of the installation. A system of modular planters will allow vegetation to be replanted following the exhibit. The interior of the installation will not be intended for human access. However, humans will interface with the installation scrolling LED signs which will keep passersby informed of current events in the turkey lifecycle. Moreover, audio intended for turkeys will be audible to most humans, and switch-activated UV-A Lights embedded in the LED signs give humans the option of temporarily approximating avian vision.

above: installation timetable and turkey and vegetation lifecycles

Being Turkey

This project has been developed In consultation with Mary Caswell Stoddard and Allison Schultz of the Edwards Lab (OEB/MCZ), whose TetraColorSpace software allows for diagrammatic representation of the expanded world of four-cone avian visual perception. With their expertise, ornamentation corresponding to turkey egg and plumage patterns that are perceptible to humans only under UV-A light will be laminated on the LED signs. Additionally, turkey calls will be broadcast throughout the course of the installation based on a script that corresponds to the time of day and anticipated seasonal events in the turkey lifecycle. This will communicate to turkeys that there is optimal food, nesting, and breeding habitat on site. Most importantly, according to some researchers, the gobble of a dominant Tom during the first pecking order formation may have the effect of producing a generation multiple Jakes, or subdominant males, thereby reducing male aggression in turkey-turkey and turkey-human encounters. However, even if the installation fails to create a generation of mellow, Radcliffe-educated urbane turkeys suitable for life in Harvard Square, the ultimate purposes of the installation is to instill the cultural shift necessary for the utopian rewilding projects of the 1970s, opening the potential of multi-natural realities to local humans.

abobe: Mary Casswell Stoddard's TetraColorSpace representation of 4-Cone Avian Vision.

Forthcoming at GSD

Forthcoming event I have organized at GSD through NONHUMAN group....