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Current Fellows

Claudia Hartl

Mathias Kessler

Mathias Kessler received his MFA in Art Practice from the School of Visual Arts in2013. He has exhibited internationally, including solo exhibitions at the, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria; Kirchner Museum, Davos, Switzerland; Kunsthal Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, Colorado; Palmengarten Frankfurt, Germany; Site:Lab, Grand Rapids, Michigan; Rosphot National Museum for Photography, St. Petersburg, Russia; GL Holtegaard Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark; and Kunstraum Dornbirn, Austria, Paradise Now at MARCO | Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey.

Selected exhibitions include: Big Botany, Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas; Visions of Nature, Kunsthaus Vienna; The Sun Placed in the Abyss, Columbus Museum of Art; Social Glitch, Kunstraum Niederoestereich, Vienna; Spring Show 2016, Kunsthal Charlottenburg; Landscape in Motion, Kunsthaus Graz; (Un)Natural Limits, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York; Hohe Dosis, Fotohof, Salzburg; The Nature of Disappearance, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York; Hoehenrausch, Offenes Kulturhaus, Linz; GO NYC, Kunsthalle Krems; and The Invention of Landscape; Museo, Palaxio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Selected residencies include: Cape Cod Modern House Trust, AIRE Everglades, Rise Projects London, Spencer Museum of Art.



Rosbach vor der Höhe - an Area of Destructed Woodland

Every destruction entails a chance. Rosenbach vor der Hoehe is a forest near Frankfurt that stands as a symbol of the future. It embodies the effects of climate change. Where does art fit into such challenging conditions? Perhaps it provides a different perspective that generates new knowledge. For me, witnessing collapsed ecosystems is crucial, I'm fascinated by the possibilities they hold. That brings us back to Rosbach vor der Höhe; I developed a method to make natural processes visible and to examine natural processes collaboratively. This project invites people to experience a forest that's in the process of collapsing. What happens from decomposition to recomposition. It’s the process and not the finger-waving, that can ultimately incite a call to action.


Clemens Finkelstein



Urelement - Vibration as Planetary Transmaterial

Coalescing material and immaterial states into one dynamic superposition, the physical phenomenon of vibration has catalyzed intellectual attraction as much as existential terror, echoing throughout global histories, industrial and indigenous epistemologies. Its cataclysmic effects in, e.g., earthquakes have linked vibration to events of apocalyptic devastation while likewise attributing it with creative properties that led investigators across disciplines to label it a primordial planetary element [Urelement]. Spanning the life and planetary sciences, the humanities, both cultural and scientific imaginaries, vibration has become a ubiquitous indicator of human-planetary entanglements. Whether geophysicists realizing its epistemological potential in deducing the interior structure of the Earth, artists valuing its transformative capacity in processing the overwhelming modern experience at the threshold of human perception, or quantum physicists breaking down reality into its frequencies, the twentieth century ushered in a moment in which the material and the immaterial fused to describe the world as composed of vibrations.

The fellowship project “Urelement:Vibration as Planetary Transmaterial” engages the planetary entanglements of vibration via architecture, which operates as agential media between the built and natural environment. Parsing modern architecture’s intricate alliance with the physical phenomenon and design technique, the project thoroughly examines vibration as a phenomenotechnique whose critical mechanisms analyzed natural vibratory phenomena or reproduced them artificially to obtain knowledge about materials and spatial bodies. Oscillating between bio- and geoprospecting, the project investigates historical conceptualizations of vibration as planetary transmaterial and links them with contemporary developments and debates that seek to recalibrate humanity’s essential relationships with its surroundings.


Claudia J. Ford



What Earth is Made of - Planetary Materials, Indigenous Knowledge, and the Gaia Hypothesis

Humans, animate and inanimate beings - we all have in common the DNA of a star. Conceiving of the planet as Gaia, a “self-regulating complex system” or super-organism, maps onto indigenous ecological thinking about human/planetary interactions and the cosmology that describes kincentric ecological relationships between humans and the planet. Enlarging our philosophical perspective of the Gaia hypothesis allows us to grapple with this idea that we are all of one origin, made of the same planetary substances yet exist as a species with supremely different modes of being, worldviews, and paradigms about how to be in sustainable relationship with this unitary planet and our common origins. What transpires at the intersection between environmental worldviews and Gaia principles, given the material similitude and the cultural diversity that drives human society? A deeper and fuller understanding of the Gaia hypothesis from an indigenous perspective should support important ontological shifts in the conception of planetary materials and these shifts become critical to enlarging our understanding of the planet as a cohesive system, especially as we try to create diverse but unified societal responses and social systems that can confront the challenges of planetary change and the climate crisis. Significantly, art making and storytelling honor the different paradigms of research, knowledge creation, and knowledge sharing that inform this project. The arts pay tribute to the methodologies underlying the indigenous knowledge of all peoples, making complex scientific and philosophical topics visible to make them more accessible.


Matthew C. Wilson



A constellation of planetary materials

Brains emerged from the Earth, through evolutionary processes driven in part by changing climate and shifting landscapes. How can we understand artificial intelligence as a parallel phenomena of anthropogenic planetary processes? Can counter hegemonic approaches to AI bend future ecological and climatological trajectories back in line with planetary limits?

Local production of synthetic environments can simulate conditions elsewhere in space, both on and off planet, and time, both forwards and backwards -- or even novel environments outside of the known universe. How do we understand such physical models in relation to abstract scenarios? How do we understand synthetic environments in an interscalar way? How is the emergence of such profoundly heterogeneous and discontinuous ecologies tied to colonial projects (Wardian cases, greenhouses, SpaceX/Musk’s plans for “glass domes” on Mars, etc)? What are the political implications of metabolising one environment to produce another?

There are numerous sites where traditional understandings of the relationship between life and agency, vis-à-vis living and nonliving systems, can be challenged. From DNA precursors discovered in meteorites to viruses, how can scientific knowledge come to bear on philosophical questions, particularly ontological questions?