Working collaboratively as EcoArtTech since 2005, new media art duo Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint study the environmental imagination––from nature and built spaces to the mobile landscape and electronic environments––in the afterglow of modernization. Merging their diverse skills and disciplinary training, Leila and Cary’s projects explore senses of place in industrialized, digitized, and urbanized culture, merging old with new: biological systems, primitive technologies, ancient meditation practices, nineteenth-century narratives about nature, theories of modernity, and new media technologies. Their projects have taken the form of architectural interventions and urban wilderness tours, net art and public performances, scholarly articles and poetic essays, earning awards from New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Joya: Arte y Ecología, and numerous university fellowships. EcoArtTech performances, exhibitions, and lectures have taken place at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Postmasters Gallery, 319 Scholes, Smackmellon Gallery, Exit Art, U.C.L.A., M.I.T. Media Lab, ISEA 2012, Banff New Media Institute, European Media Art Festival, Parsons The New School for Design, and the Neuberger Museum of Art, and their work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Walker Art Center, Rhizome.org, Turbulence.org of New Radio & Performing Arts, and Cornell University Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art.
Leila Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and creative writer, and teaches environmental humanities courses in the Sustainability and Digital Media Studies programs at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD in English from Columbia University in 2009, where she studied environmental thought, critical theory, and contemporary literature, and was Andrew Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow of Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College in 2010-2011. Her essays, reviews, and scholarship about natural, built, and digital environments appear regularly in academic journals, such as Leonardo, Antennae, Cather Studies, and Utopian Studies, and in popular print and online magazines, including American Scientist, North American Review, Hyperallergic, Furtherfield, and Rhizome.org. In 2011, the Society for Utopian Studies awarded her its Eugenio Battisti Award, and early in 2007 its Arthur O. Lewis Award, for her scholarship connecting the fields of environmental studies and utopian thought.
Cary Peppermint’s solo art performances were some of the first to examine the effect of online spaces on the ways we imagination the environment and have been exhibited by the Whitney Museum (New York), Moving Image Gallery (New York), Pace Digital Gallery (New York), M.I.T. Media Lab (Boston), International Symposium for Electronic Art (Chicago), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Center for Contemporary Art (Scotland), European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), Itaú Culturales (Sao Paulo), the Kitchen (New York). Described by Artforum as “twenty-first-century takes on Warhol’s Factory,” Peppermint’s early work has been chronicled in Alex Galloway’s Protocol (MIT Press, 2004), Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais’s At the Edge of Art (Thames&Hudson, 2006), and Mark Tribe and Reena Janna’s New Media Art (Taschen, 2006), among other critical texts. He is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Art at University of Rochester.