Leila Nadir is Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College and earned her Ph.D. in English from Columbia University in 2009. She works as a trans-disciplinary scholar, new media artist, and creative writer, traversing the fields of trans-American literature, critical/cultural theory, theories of modernity/modernism, and media studies. Since 2005, she has been collaborating with artist Cary Peppermint under the name ecoarttech: together Cary and Leila explore the convergence of biological, cultural, and digital networks, imagining what it means to be an ecological being amidst globally networked environments. In spring 2012, Furtherfield interviewed Cary and Leila about the relationships of environment, media, technology in their work:

Recent works include “Indeterminate Hikes” (2011/2012), a smartphone app and installation that transforms chance encounters in everyday locales into public performances of bio-cultural diversity and wild happenings, created originally for the Whitney Museum of American Art ISP exhibition; “Untitled Landscape #5,” an internet-based work commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, which visualizes the digital footprint left by visitors to the Museum’s online information environment; “Center for Wildness in the Everyday” (2010), a series of networked performances about the “wildness” of water in the Texas Trinity River Basin, commissioned by the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design; and “Eclipse” (2009), a net art work exploring the politics of pollution, the myth of wilderness, and the surplus of online information, commissioned by of New Radio & Performing Arts, Inc. other honors include a New York Foundation for the Arts artist fellowship and teaching positions at Banff New Media Institute and Anderson Arts Ranch.

In addition to ecoarttech, Leila regularly reviews exhibitions and books related to art, technology, environment, and science. Many of her reviews can be found at Hyperallergic: Her current projects also include writing a memoir about growing up in an Afghan immigrant community in rural Central New York during the Cold War and revising her doctoral dissertation into a book intertwining ecological theories of modernity, media, art, and literature.

For more information, please visit You can also follow Leila's work with and beyond ecoarttech by joining or following ecoarttech's Twitter feed at!/ecoarttech.
Discussions (3) Opportunities (1) Events (4) Jobs (0)


Mon Dec 31, 2012 17:40

#TrainingYRHuman seeks participants.

#TrainingYRHuman is a participatory Twitter-based performance and installation about the agency of animals who live with human-animals. Created by (Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint).

About the project: While new scientific research has illuminated animals’ behaviors, their ethical attitudes, modes of cognition, and psychological awareness, our everyday experiences can also tell us a lot about our companion species if we listen carefully—about their diverse personalities and creative problem-solving and the ways they invent to express themselves and meet their needs and desires in a human-dominated world.

How to participate:
1. Login to (Create an account if you don’t have one. It’s free and easy!)
2. Write a Tweet from your companion animal’s perspective that includes the tag #TrainingYRHuman.


Closing: Mediating Place @ UMASS Boston's Harbor Art Gallery

Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:35 - Tue Oct 25, 2011

Mediating Place — curated by Meredith Hoy and Kevin Benisvy
:: October 5 - 25, 2011; Monday - Thursday, 12:00 - 7:00 pm :: Opening
Reception: October 5; 5:00 - 8:00 pm :: Harbor Gallery, UMass Boston,
McCormack building floor 1, 100 William T. Morrissey Blvd., Boston MA.
The show seeks to address issues of place in the environment, politics, the home, media and technology with work like Ben Bray’s periodic streaming video updates from his current expedition in the Arctic, John Craig Freeman and collaborators’
augmented reality installations famed for using their
politically-minded virtual exhibitions to crash renowned venues such as
the MoMA and the Venice Biennial, Ann Torke’s residual accumulation sculptures from the home, and much more.
With: Ben Bray, Miriam Dym, ecoarttech (Cary Peppermint and Leila
Nadir), John Craig Freeman with Lily & Honglei, Mark Skwarek, Lalie
S. Pascual, Caroline Bernard and 4Gentlemen, Jane Prophet, Ann Torke, and Dyllan Nguyen.
The artists hail from New York City; Berkeley, California; London,
UK; China (exact whereabouts unknown); and our very own Boston, MA. They
represent institutions as diverse as University of Rochester,
University of California Berkeley, University of London, Emerson
College, Mass Art, and MIT, and have work in the collections of The
Whitney Museum of American Art, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art,
among others.


Convergent ecologies of art, media and the environment: Hyperallergic interviews ecoarttech


Hrag Vartanian: How are the ecologies of online and the environment similar?

Ecoarttech: We don’t think of the environmental and online ecologies as similar or different as much as we think about them as converging—interconnected to and flowing through one another. Art, culture, digital media and even mental health are intertwined “ecosystems” just as much as physical environments. For example, mental health is connected to physical well-being, which is linked to the food quality, which is dependent upon the vitality of land, air, and water. We can see people beginning to make these connections with new ideas like Nature Deficit Disorder.

Online and physical environments are threatened by similar forces. Agribusinesses produce food in monocultures devoid of diversity and overburdened by chemicals fertilizers and pesticides. Corporations in the online world produce an environment constrained by proprietary software and commerce-driven websites. In both cases, profit is put before the health of people and animals — and not just health in the physical sense but health in the form of creative imagination. It is also important to remember that every online incarnation we experience has an impact on a physical environment, such as Google’s server “farm” located along the Columbia River in The Dalles, Oregon, a site chosen for its reliable hydroelectric power. Every time we click a link, we mobilize another part of this interwoven ecological system. Nature has always been networked, and now it’s part of the digital network too.

HV: What have you discovered about popular attitudes about the world online that have surprised you?

E: Many people have an either/or understanding of the environment and technology. This becomes even more clear when you work with emerging, online technologies; there is an assumption that engaging with emerging media means you must not be a true environmentalist or that true eco-artists can’t make art with digital technologies.

Maybe the problem is not realizing that human beings are essentially technical beings, socially evolving with the tools they invent, whether it be the hammer, the automobile or the computer. Or perhaps the problem is that the imagination of the “environmentalism” is still associated with ideas of “nature” or the “local.” Developing local networks of food production is integral to sustainability, as is preserving habitats to protect biodiversity and relative wildness, but it is just as important to protect and foster the biological, social, intellectual, and creative diversity of the environments in which we actually live and work: our backyards, streets, and neighborhoods, with our companion species, computing devices, and digital networks. All these spaces and relationships can be “wild” and unpredictable, creating unexpected encounters and new awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings. That is what our project Indeterminate Hikes is about — what if we take the terms and concepts of wilderness excursions and import them into McCarren Park or Bedford Avenue or the internet? How will we see these spaces differently?

Working at the convergence of eco- and new media art has taught us that the assumption of the “nature”-technology divide goes in the other direction too: sometimes people who dwell in the online world can assume that artists working with environmental issues must be primitivist, anti-technology and didactic. And the traditional art world can sometimes be suspicious of art like ours that is inspired by a consistent theme — it does not fit their mythos of the genius-artist.

HV: What is it about this field that inspires the two of you to make art?

E: Our desire to live in the world has inspired us to make art — a world we understand as an unknowable, unpredictable network of ecological systems, biological, digital, social, cultural, technological. We also believe that art-making is itself an environmental act. Félix Guattari’s Three Ecologies has been making the rounds in art circles lately, and one of the things we’ve always liked in that text is his call for everyone to make eco-art, which etymologically refers to making (art) a home (eco). That is, to make the world “habitable by a human project,” rather than only habitable to the swift movement and accumulation of capital. Exerting creative energy back into the networks we dwell in, “interrupting” them, rather than letting these spaces and our lives be entirely “subjected” to forces outside of our control, is an environmentalist, eco-art-making act, and we consider all artists and creative thinkers to be our collaborators in this regard.

Original interview located at
For more information about ecoarttech's work, visit