Crip’d Ecologies: Unfurling Expanded Environments
Co-curated by moira williams and Jeremiah Barber
Root Division Gallery
San Francisco CA
Feb 1 - Mar 10, 2024
In 2019, moira williams and I met at an environmental-focused artist residency and held our first conversations around what ecologically-minded arts look like today. The discussion continued, unfolding over months and then years as we shared artist research, books, and sources of inspiration from the natural world. In time our ideas became an opportunity--why not use this momentum to create a shared platform for expanding environmentalism in the arts? moira identifies as a disabled artist and curator, and while I do not identify as disabled, we felt our strengths and interests could be a great resource, and since our project sought to increase accessibility within the arts, it was important that we approach the project from a perspective of openness, flexibility and play. “Crip’d Ecologies” is the result, a wide-ranging exhibition, performance and workshop series, with online, in person and hybrid components. An excerpt from our curatorial statement:

In our current moment with no shortage of grief and resistance, Crip’d Ecologies centers disabled artists across race, gender, class and disability, who are expanding ideas of environmentalism toward a more complex reflection of our feelings of trauma, fear, anger and desire. Crip strategies are dynamic, interdependent, and brilliant [...] offering new perspectives on landscapes that are personal, shared, participatory, hacked, and imagined.

Above: Jaklin Romine, Naomi Ortiz, and a free RISO print station

In 2022, we found an exhibition partner in Root Division, a space that I have a long history of working with, and were excited to be working with Executive Director Michelle Mansour. With Mansour’s support, we were recipients of a Project Grant from California Humanities for All, which broadened the initial offerings to add ASL, braille, and other wayfinding aspects to the in-person exhibition, more online accessible events, and a catalog of the program (which is in progress).

Participating artists include:

Above (left to right, top to bottom): 100 Days logo; “Inauguration of the People by the People” by 100 Days; “No Scrubs” by Jenifer Wofford; “My Body My Business” by Michele Pred; “The Peoples’ Oval Office” by 100 Days; “24 Hr Resistance Gym” by 100 Days; “Strike a Pose” by Jamil Hellu; making sashes for a No-Ban dance party; another Oval Office take; “Side by Side” by Minoosh Zomorodinia and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; “Sloughing” by Raegan Truax; and “Reap What You Sew” by Stephanie Syjuco.
100 Days Action
Artist and Activist Collective
100 Days Action is an artist collective based in the San Francisco Bay Area. 100 Days was cofounded by Jeremiah Barber and Ingrid Rojas Contreras in 2016 in response to the election of the 45th President of the United States and his One Hundred Day Plan, which included attacks on immigration, health care, education and the environment. They were soon joined by eight core members and hundreds of participants in the Bay and internationally. 

100 Days’ inaugural project was a calendar of artist-led activism in resistance to the open approval of racist, anti-immigrant, and anti-LGBTQ hate speech. Our calendar featured a daily action of “artivism”, something you could do at home or in person. 100 Days supported, featured, and amplified over one hundred and fifty projects, garnering national press and leading to artist residencies at Royal Nonesuch Gallery, Southern Exposure, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

100 Days continues to operate in relationship to electoral politics and in partnership with political organizers in California. During the 2018 midterm elections, we worked in collaboration with Mi Familia Vota, a national non-profit that encourages civic engagement in Latinx communities. Supported by a residency from California College of the Arts’ Hubbell Street Galleries, 100 Days created a cardboard replica of the office of the Presidency in a project called The People’s Oval Office. This toured sites in Modesto, California, alongside volunteers with Mi Familia, registering new voters and contributing to the election of Josh Harder to Congress.

The original 100 Days team: 
Jeremiah Barber
Laura C
Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Alicia Escott
Carolyn Janssen
Ben Leon
Ken Lo
Katina Papson Rigby
Surabhi Saraf
Julie Sutherland
Maysoun Wazwaz

Cement, parabolic mirror, ladder and custom armature

An exhibition about the Persistence of Vision
CUE Art Foundation
Manhattan NY
Exhabitations is a series of sculptures and a performance for the CUE Art Foundation, NY. These works investigate the phenomenon known as “persistence of vision”—the ability for the brain to connect still images that leave an impression on our retina after an image has appeared, and the foundational biological reason why we can perceive cinematic images. Rendered in black, white and blue, the works in this series offer stark, high contrast views of the artists’ body illuminated and suspended by traditional cinematic hardware such as C-stands and Lowell lamps. Body parts are cast in cement, replicated through rice paper, or painted on silk. 

The performance element of Exhabitations occurred as a single night event in the gallery in absolute darkness and could not be documented: it’s real location is the retina of the viewers. I enter in complete darkness with a rice paper replica of my body and form a bridge position on the ground with the body above me. I then leap horizontally in the air while triggering a camera flash mechanism. The audience sees my body in the air with a white replica floating above it, the image stays within their vision as they hear me fall. I repeat the action until I cannot any longer.

Cement, parabolic mirror, ladder and custom armature

Cement, steel, cinema lamp and custom armature
Void Action
Hand painted silk, C-stand, fans, cinema light

Make Me Change Me
Single or two channel HD Video (color, sound)
TRT 17’42” (single)
Featuring Florentina Mocanu-Schendel, Dean Hernandez, Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Jeremiah Barber

Make Me Change Me
Recology AIR Program
San Francisco CA
The video excerpt above is the culmination of a four-month residency at San Francisco’s Recology. The Recology program awards Bay Area artists exclusive access to the “Public Reuse and Recycling Area”, known affectionately as the Dump, where materials can be gathered and taken back to the studio for a four-month period, followed by an exhibition. In addition to the fantastical materials that felt necessary for me to use (a dozen bags of a bizarre bright red organic powder, a human-size display case, sunglass lens samples, mirrors and lights of all kinds), while trash-collecting I was particularly drawn toward small handwritten notes. What becomes of our passing thoughts scribbled on napkins and hotel notepads?

For this series I paired compelling found-texts with performers and outfits or scenarios made from reused materials. I also built a series of film equipment from trash, which would influence my later sculptural practice. Trash-based film equipment included custom lights, a skateboard wheel-dolly, and a floating tripod (pictured above).

While in residency I also created an interactive sculpture called Skyloop. Approaching this work the viewer finds themselves reflected and projected in layers of altered and mirrored images of themselves in a playful kaleidoscope.

Stills from Make Me Change Me

Floating Tripod
Found styrofoam, plastic, ratchet strap, milk crate, laptop stand, and spring clamps
Skylight, plexiglas, sunglasses, camera and projector

Special thanks to the incredible team at Recology: Deborah Munk, Sharon Spain, Micah Gibson, and Felisia Castaneda.

Bring to Mind
Sisal, custom armature, modified chair

Lo Real Maravillosa
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
San Francisco CA
This two-person solo exhibition featured new sculptures and videos (Barber) and new multimedia codices (Rojas Contreras), alongside ten years of collaborative works made in performance. The works push together and pull apart, drawing connections between our shared interests (mirrors, death, and the quality of presence that can be felt in objects) but also highlighting our widely different backgrounds. From the press release:

“In their solo exhibition Rojas and Barber mythologize their personal histories—Rojas explores the story of her grandfather, a medicine man in Colombia, while Barber reimagines the boundaries of the body and its limitations in a series of sculptural and video works. Lo Real Maravilloso is a diverse look at extrasensory occurrences in the everyday through narrative storytelling and visual art installation.

The new works I produced for this exhibition were inspired by exploring the energy that objects carry from their previous owners. Tools stuffed with burning incense, incomplete body casts, and various forms of binding with string all appear to speak of ways in which we impress ourselves on the world. They are echoed in the immaterial presences and transfigurations that are part of Rojas Contreras’ storytelling.

Lo Real Maravilloso was curated by Sanaz Mazinani and supported by a grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

A Speculative Machine
Artist's journal, rope, calibration weight, bricks, plumb bob, plaster

Speculation Sequence

Artist’s journal, copper, ceramic and stone
Lapses series
Three HD Videos, 12-28 min each
Lighting by Kija Lucas