Cnidarian Stool, Medusa Phase
, digital rendering, 2023

Scrappy Chair Challenge
June 15-25, 2023
6th Fl Galleries

This spring my proposal was chosen by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to construct a piece of furniture using recycled materials from past exhibitions. The “Scrappy Chair Challenge” winners will all fabricate a sculpture that may or may not be functional in relationship to overlapping ideas from the fields of art and furniture design. We have just under one month to turn a pile of scrapwood into our final piece. The works will be exhibited at SFMOMA during the closing two weeks of the exhibition “Conversation Pieces”. I’ll be documenting my progress below! 


I used Blender to render my design, which ended up playing a much larger role in the project than I anticipated. The digital model allowed me to figure out how a cylinder would look “stretched”, which is what would give the stool legs the look that they are somewhat liquid, moving through water, instead of just a bunch of cylinders cut at different angles.

the goods

Picking up two sheets plywood; some 2x4s, a couple short 4x4 chunks. I’ve fit worse on my Prius. Sunny morning and always love encountering a Susan O’Malley mural. Photo is taken May 15, I have to deliver this thing by June 10th, time to get on it!

crossgrain plywood

I’m thinking a mix of plywood grain types would create the most interesting surfaces for the legs. I set out to make the plywood grain cut through each segment at one of five different angles. Since the segments themselves are cut at five different angles as well, the result is 120 possibilities!

Glue Up

Time to start putting these dozens (hundreds?) of segments together. I’m using a small dowel between each to create some stability--some of the legs will be as long as 30” or so. There are six legs in total, and while three touch the ground, the other three twist and even rotate upward, so they will need a fair amount of internal strength.


Admittedly completely off the rails over here. After having so much fun creating my own plywood crossgrains, I thought I might try to throw some even more complicated iterations in for a higher level of detail. The results are stunning. I asked some folks online to help me name this product, and “Plywood Sushi” definitely stood out as the winning entry.


Sanding, hours and hours of sanding. Thankfully few repairs. Danish oil, two coats. Drilling out the mounts for six legs. Brass fasteners for each leg. And a final detail, small furniture sliders under each leg end. 

Final Product

At last here she is! Everything I dreamed and more. I was hoping for a stool that felt like it was on the verge of swimming away, tilting as far out as possible. In order to achieve that sense of movement, there is a counterbalance going on--if any one of the the free (not ground-touching) legs is removed, the piece tips over forward. It’s in perfect balance altogether. It was incredible watching this piece come together, and even more fun to see it at MOMA with more than forty works celebrating semi and non-functional design. I feel so grateful I got to participate. Now time for some rest :)

Other winning entries from the “Scrappy Chair Challenge” on display include works by:

Eddie Aye
Lauren DiCioccio
Sofia Galán
Yvonne Mouser


Living Room Light Exchange
Co-curated with Surabhi Saraf
on Zoom
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
6pm PST / 9pm EST

“Life Touching Life” by Dakota Gearhart and Thea Quiray Tagle (Erina C. Alejo)

Join me and co-curator Surabhi Saraf for Living Room Light Exchange’s final episode of the season 8, featuring artist Dakota Gearhart and curator, writer and scholar Thea Quiray Tagle to discuss how art practices adapt to intersectional issues around environmentalism:

In the midst of the great fallout that is the 2020s, how do we move forward and form deeper connections between ourselves and the beings, animate and inanimate, around us? What buildings, structures, words, need to be unmade? What joy can be breathed into our future-thinking?

In this panel we will see new excerpts from Gearhart’s “Life Touching Life”, a web series about a speculative feminist interspecies future, as well as Tagle’s recent photographic and curatorial work around environmental racism and the role of spectacle in Filipino art and media. I’m joined in conversation with Surabhi Saraf, who has a new solo exhibition at Honor Fraser Gallery in LA. 

Tickets are donation-based (support LRLX! They are the best) and can be found at http://www.livingroomlightexchange.com/

I’m so thrilled to be recognized by the California Arts Council as a recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship in their inaugural year of 2021-22 at the “Established” level. The CAC awarded 182 grants in three categories, including to sixty-five emerging artists in California (defined as 4-10 years of professional practice). From the press release:

“The Individual Artist Fellowships support artists from a broad spectrum of artistic practices, backgrounds, geographies, and communities, whose work addresses themes such as race, diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, consistent with the goals of the Council,” said Council Chair Lilia Gonzáles-Chávez of Fresno.

In my application, I wrote about my ongoing practice and all its investments: solo performance, collaborations, curatorial and educational work. At times I feel my practice is peripatetic and so honed in on in-person experience, its a joy to find that my interwoven disciplines are communicating and connecting to viewers. I’m grateful to the Arts Council for this crucial support and the panelists for their time and comments. 

In my award year I intend to develop two collaborative projects (the Nyctinastic Light Meter and a new work in progress, recreating an early 20th Century nature film), build on my curatorial collaboration with moira williams, and continue my investigation of early film and photo equipment with biological roots. The midterm elections are looming so I’m sure there will be an opportunity for 100 Days to get involved.

Also huge congrats to my Bay Area friends for their awards: Christy Chan, Juli Delgado Lopera, Marcel Pardo Ariza, and Johanna Poethig! Your work is an inspiration, and this community is such a gift.

This spring I’m researching termite architecture. I became fascinated because termites have been cited as the inspiration for the first “passive” temperature controlled building—the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, which was designed by Mick Pearson and constructed in 1996. Pearson laid the groundwork for temperature control that uses larger ventilation shafts, fans, and a lot of concrete. The concrete warms up in the daytime and holds some of it’s heat at night. It can also stay cooler in the day. While termites don’t use fans, and their version of concrete actually traps CO2 instead of adding to air pollution, the design has been referenced countless times as an example of more sustainable architecture and of biomimicry. 

Meanwhile, termites are public enemy #1 for architecture in the collective imagination. So I grew interested in learning more about how they construct their living structures, and why there is a disconnect between their contribution to the ecosystem and their reputation.

This led me to look at their communication strategy. Termites knock their heads against their tunnels, passing a vibration that gets passed down the line in order to quickly spread a signal throughout hundreds of thousands of colony members, much like a viral tweet or the “People’s Microphone” (MIC CHECK!) used in protests without a P.A. system. 

I’m continuing my research with an upcoming project publication in Art Journal, though I’ve had some setbacks—it turns out no one wants termites near their structures, surprise, surprise. I’m continually adapting the work to the lived circumstances of people and animal companions, so it’s just another step in the process.

After Life (we survive)
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Nov 9 2020 - Jan 24 2021
Online & In-person (outdoor) exhibition

Art 25: Art in the Twenty-Fifth Century (Lehua M. Taitano and Lisa Jarrett) with Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng

I’m excited and honored to have two new works included in this exhibition at YBCA alongside an incredible group of artists curated by Thea Quiray Tagle. As explained by Quiray Tagle in an exceptional exhibition essay that itself is a roadmap for survival, this show addresses strategies for navigating the overlapping crises of environmental destruction and violence against communities of color. We’ve all adapted or recreated our works for this tumultuous year: turning what was meant to be a traditional exhibition into a series of works viewed from outside the gallery and online. My contributions, Lightroom and Darkroom (both 2020) are interactive web presentations that reenvision the relationship between human and nonhuman animal and plant perception, uprooting the history of photography as a way to consider a non-violent approach to ecological relationships.

These two works are on view through January on the exhibition website. Also included in the exhibition are works by micha cárdenas, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Super Futures Haunt Collective, and more. You can view exhibition works through a 3D tour on your browser, or visit the show in person. Because several of the works are light-based, nighttime is the best for viewing in person.

This project and the conversations surrounding it have impacted how I view my own work in ways that are still unfolding. My works are representative of an imagined virtual studio—the objects inside are perpetually “works-in-progress”. And because of the software I am using, I can update the interiors at anytime throughout the exhibition run. While at the moment I am exhausted from making new work on a deadline, I can imagine there may be additions to the rooms as I reflect on the other works in the exhibition and their overlapping themes of speculative history-making and disrupting the anthropocene.

“A Handbreadth Of Time”
Visiting Artist Lecture
Columbia College Chicago
Oct 7, 2020 4pm PST / 6pm CT
Livestreaming on YouTube

Next week I will visit with students at Columbia College’s MFA program and give a lecture on my recent work and research. This was going to be an in-person visit this last spring, so it is interesting seeing how six months has impacted both my work and my outlook. A short description of the talk is below. You can watch the lecture livestream on youTube.

Jeremiah Barber is a San Francisco based visual artist presenting on cameras as “chimeras”—audio-visual technology that intersects with nonhuman animals and plants. Recent sculptural works are interwoven with historical examples of multispecies collaborations, speculating what might happen should cameras expand rather than limit perspectives. Pigeons, jellyfish, and a plant that closes its leaves at night contribute to a reconsideration of human exceptionalism and how our perception of time has brought us to the brink of climate collapse.


Add Oil Chinatown!
Two-Part Panel Talks
Aug 20 & 29, 2020
On Zoom

I’m so thrilled to represent 100 Days Action at two panel talks hosted by the Chinese Cultural Center in a conversation online about responsive public art and neighborhood recovery. Each of the four artists that participated in the Art for Essential Workers project in Chinatown will be present—starting with Chelsea Wong and Jenifer Wofford on August 20th followed by Christine Wong Yap and Jocelyn Tsaih on August 29th. The conversations will be moderated by Hoi Leung and livestreaming on youTube. I will post links to the conversations below after they are complete.

More information about the event is available here.

More information about Art for Essential workers is available here.


I’ve been weathering the shutdown by mostly writing, drawing, and small sculptural work in my house (Minnesota Street has been closed since the Shelter in Place order in mid March). It’s been a challenge to adapt to so much time indoors, so when 100 Days Action was approached with a proposition to install artwork on boarded up businesses, we jumped at the opportunity.

Art for Essential Workers was born. A project that mirrors many other mural based responses to the boarding up of our cities, our project commissions artworks from social practice artists to respond to the crisis with messages of optimism and solidarity. Their drawings are digitized and printed and wheatpasted up on businesses that choose work that suits them. 

It’s been a beautiful way to reenter public space by hanging art. We have had so many lovely interactions with folks on the street who are excited to see something go up in place of the scrappy, graffiti covered boards that line the street.

We don’t know how long this project may last, nor the long term implications of the Shelter in Place. In the meantime we’re hoping to share some works by artists who can speak to this moment with levity and joy.

Project Update 9/20: We ended the project with an incredible roster. I was so proud to work with these artists and see their work go out in the world. Several turned these short commissions into larger scale works.

Caren Andrews & Katina Papson Rigby, Marcela Pardo Ariza & Juan Carlos Rodriguez & Felipe Garcia Jr., Miguel Arzabe, Christy Chan, Jeffrey Cheung, Alicia Escott, Rodney Ewing, Amos Goldbaum, Jamil Hellu, Angela Hennessy, Alex Hernandez, Liz Hernández, Liz Hickok, Ben Leon, Aida Lizalde, Bonny Nahmias, Christo Oropeza, Sofie Ramos, Rachelle Reichert, Jerome Reyes, Jocelyn Tsaih, Leila Weefur, Jenifer Wofford, Chelsea Wong, Christine Wong Yap

Almost one year ago I purchased an underwater case for my beloved Sony a7s. I intended to make something very different with it and never did; as of January the case sat in a pile of gear meant to be resold or donated as I moved studios and cleaned things out. But it stuck around, and as it turns out I would need it sooner than anticipated. 

I was recently invited to participate in a public art exhibition in Alameda this September (2020) in collaboration with Doer Submersibles, a submarine company that manufactures equipment for scientific research. Their production facilities are astounding—housed in a massive warehouse in a hangar that once was a site for the C.I.A. to develop photographs from their spy planes.

I was immediately taken by the colonies of mussels on and around the docks outside Doer. They cover almost every surface in bursting clusters. When the tide drops they close up exposed. When the tide is in they open to reveal colorful siphons to filter plankton and other microscopic elements from the water, their primary food source. After a couple site visits, I returned with a wetsuit and snorkel and my new waterproof gear to record some sample footage of the little creatures. It was an incredible full-body challenge to attempt swimming and filming while not disrupting the colony. But I love the way the preliminary footage is even more exciting than what can be seen above water—rich with color and strong lighting, algae floating to create a kind of galaxy.

I also recorded some audio around the site. A few years ago I constructed a hydrophone but it was no longer operational so instead I improvised with a wired lavalier covered in a latex glove. The audio can be heard in both the sample videos below. I’m looking forward to revisiting this and other mussel sites in the coming months.

This February I moved studios into the 1240 Minnesota Street Project. This studio program, started in 2016 by Deborah and Andy Rappaport to provide affordable space to both artists and commercial galleries has thrived in the increasingly challenging Bay Area art environment. The studios have a woodshop, digital print lab, and ceramics facility. I plan to make use of my time there to develop the Wilderness Film Studio and begin filming with my functional sculpture equipment. If you plan a visit to 1275 Minnesota (the galleries across the street) drop me a line! Unless I’m hunkered down I’d be happy to show visitors around.