Multispecies Relations Across Diasporic Landscapes
- Nicole Cheng
- Landscape Architecture, Weitzman School of Design (PennDesign)
Student Creative Production Grant
Multispecies Relations Across Diasporic Landscapes is a participatory textile art project that weaves together diasporic narratives through constructing landscapes of relationships between humans and nonhumans. In a world of science-based environmental policy making, we need more ways of challenging the limits of established scientific frameworks and values. Particularly when addressing issues of climate adaptation and conservation, the myth of the “pristine wild” undergirds much of the logic in pursuing conservation science research. This myth imagines nature’s ideal state as one untouched by humans–erasing the knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and often draws boundaries around legitimate environmental knowledge on colonial lines. While there is work being done to understand how indigenous ways of knowing can be integrated with science in environmental decision making, Nicole Cheng is interested in how a diasporic lens could also contribute to this conversation. This grant will support artistic exploration of how diasporic ways of understanding landscapes through multispecies relations can offer ways of caring for and connecting to places in a world of shifting climates.
The project has three distinct methods of working that will happen concurrently: participatory art workshops, interviews, and studio art exploration. The participatory art workshops will focus on collage as a way of helping people make assemblages of diasporic landscapes and relationships. Three workshops will be conducted over the period of two months. Amongst the groups of workshop participants, Cheng will choose 5 people to further interview as a way of probing more deeply into their ideas of diasporic landscapes and relationships. These 5 participants will be chosen with the goal of representing a diverse range of experiences and dependent on participant interest and availability. These open-ended interviews will be exploratory conversations based on the participant’s experience in the workshop and what they associate with meanings of nature and relationships within it through a diasporic lens. Excerpts from the interviews will be showcased alongside the collages in an exhibition in May 2023.
- Landscape Architecture
- Student Grant
- Student Creative Production
- Weitzman School of Design (PennDesign)