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What are the connections between tea, a science laboratory, our daily lives and wilderness? Can we give every interaction with wilderness the same care and attention that a scientist might pay to the results of an important experiment or that a Japanese tea master might pay to guests at a tea ceremony? BioCultura investigates these questions through The “T” House. Inspired by a traditional teahouse, The ‘T’ House provides a physical, virtual and radio ‘platform’ for the performance, discussion and experience of the complex symbiotic relationships of humans and plants in and around the protected lands of Questa, New Mexico and beyond. Team Biocultura artists are presenting an artists’ lecture and inviting the audience to “take tea” mix and taste their own tea blends from wild crafted plants and explore the multi-media ‘T’ House installed for NeoRio 2014 at the Wild Rivers Visitor Center in Cerro, New Mexico in the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
In response to the pervasive integration of digital and biological technologies within the fabric of many global cultures and the social and environmental implications of these technologies, the artist/architectural designer team BioCultura combines public art, architecture and networked media to create interventions, events, objects, publications, multi-functional built spaces and other artworks focused on social transformation.
Andrea Polli is an artist and scholar working at the intersection of art, science and technology. She is an Associate Professor in Art & Ecology with a joint appointment between Fine Arts and Engineering, holds the Mesa Del Sol Endowed Chair of Digital Media, and is the Director of the Social Media Workgroup at The University of New Mexico. Among other organizations, she has worked with the NASA/Goddard Institute Climate Research Group and the National Center for Atmospheric Research and her artwork and research has been funded by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), The National Science Foundation (NSF) and Fulbright including two over $1.5 million projects: the NEA-supported ISEA2012: Machine Wilderness throughout New Mexico and the Southwest and the 5-year NSF-funded SEPTET project. Her latest book is Far Field: Digital Culture, Climate Change and the Poles published by Intellect Press.
Architectural designer John Donalds’ work combines media and architectural theory and practice by designing fantastical spaces that mix futuristic materials and forms with traditional, buildable structures. A practicing digital media artist, in 2000 he had the opportunity to lead the design of high-end networked photography and video laboratory spaces at Oberlin College. During this process, he discovered a passion for architectural practice and returned to school to pursue a Master of Architecture degree from the Syracuse University where he combined his professional background in video and photography with his ideas for reframing physical and virtual space in his 2013 project Network Home. As a collaborator, Donalds has produced significant bodies of work with artists Julee Holcombe, Bill Gilbert, Catherine Harris and Meridel Rubenstein. In 2010, he was project manager for a series of portals for DestinyUSA, the largest Leed Gold Certified commercial building in the US at the time.