Mutability & Mutualism Vol. II

Mutability & Mutualism Vol. II

No. of sessions

6 sessions

120 min each


From Oct. 18th to Nov. 22nd


18:30 to 20:30





Institute of Queer Ecology


Registrations closed

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For student discount or registration to the full Network Program, send an email to

Queer Ecology is a theoretical framework that applies queer theory to environmental concerns, ecological constructs, and our relationships with nature. The speakers in this series will consider the influence of mutability and mutualism on their work in the fields of visual art, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, environmental activism, synthetic biology, ecology, and queer theory.


Queerness and ecology together make visible the interconnected, entangled conditions of life on earth and honor the strange, multispecies amalgamation we live in community with. To make sense of the broad constellation of practices that emerge from Queer Ecology, we examine at two scales: the individual and the collective. As we explore, the binary distinction between these scales quickly blurs and blends.

At the scale of the individual—the organism—Queerness is mutability: it is the power of transformation; of shapeshifting, fluency, and the freedom to move from form to form; of code-switching, mimicry, flamboyance, delight; of subtlety, grace, and the embrace of fluidity. It plays in contrast to rigidity, permanence, and stasis; to one way of being. It is a metamorphosis and a constant becoming.

At the scale of the collective—the ecosystem—Queerness is mutualism: it is symbiotic, in-contact, relational; it is a space of eccentric economies and mutual support; of found families and utopian dreams; of care and connection and the net benefits species gift one another. It is a world shaped by cooperation. On a rapidly changing planet, Queer mutability and mutualism can guide us toward adaptation and survival.

The speakers in this seminar series will consider the influence of mutability and mutualism on their work in the fields of visual art, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, environmental activism, synthetic biology, ecology, and queer theory.

Need-based scholarships are available, apply here.


18 / 10 / 2022 - The Institute of Queer Ecology Lee Pivnik (b. 1995) is a Miami-based artist, working predominantly in sculpture, video and social practice. In 2018 he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Sculpture and a concentration in Nature-Culture-Sustainability Studies, and in 2022 he attended the Immersion Program at The School of Architecture (TSOA) at Arcosanti.

Nic Baird is a biologist, artist, writer, and dancer living in New York City. Baird served as co-director for the Institute of Queer Ecology since 2017 and is currently working on a doctorate in paleobiology. 

In 2017 Pivnik started the Institute of Queer Ecology, a collaborative organism that works to imagine and realize an equitable multispecies future. He has continued to run the project alongside artist and evolutionary biologist Nicolas Baird. IQECO builds on the theoretical framework of Queer Ecology, an adaptive practice concerned with interconnectivity, intimacy, and multispecies relationality. Guided by queer and feminist theory and decolonial thinking, they work to undo dangerously destructive human-centric hierarchies—or even flip them—to look at the critical importance of things happening invisibly; underground and out of sight.

To date, the Institute of Queer Ecology has worked with over 120 different artists to present interdisciplinary programming that oscillates between curating exhibitions and directly producing artworks/projects. IQECO has presented projects with the Guggenheim Museum (New York, NY), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Miami, Florida), the Julia Stoschek Collection (Düsseldorf, Germany), the Medellín Museum of Modern Art (Medellín, Colombia), the Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade (Serbia), ASAKUSA (Tokyo, Japan), the Biennale of Sydney (Australia), Prairie (Chicago, IL), Bas Fisher Invitational (Miami, FL) Gas Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), and Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA), among others.

25 / 10 / 2022 - Hayden Dunham Rooted in a strong belief in the transcendence of objects, Hayden Dunham creates atmospheric activity with mysterious, clouding vapors and kinetic sculptures that respond and react to their environments. The sculptor and installation artist works between Brooklyn and Los Angeles, and their practice is grounded in extensive research, which has included geology, molecular biology, and chemistry, along with site visits to chemical plants and volcanoes. In the way the human body ingests and incorporates chemicals it comes into contact with, Dunham’s sculptures combine in the manner of chemical reactions, rather than collage, allowing for a new organicism to emerge. Dunham’s interest in materiality and reactivity relates back to the body, and the chemical interference and infusion of minerals, toxic waste, and pharmaceuticals.

27 / 10 / 2022 - Sixto-Juan Zavala Sixto-Juan Zavala is a designer and illustrator from Texas currently based in London. He holds a BFA in Communication Design from Texas State University and an MA in Narrative Environments from UAL: Central Saint Martins, working particularly on exhibition design, illustration, print, collage, and typography. Zavala is especially interested in culture, marginalised groups, and the environment, and using visual communication and spatial design to facilitate cultural change. Zavala founded Queer Botany in 2020; inspired by the theoretical lens of queer ecology, the project studies connections between queerness and plants through events, story-telling, and design. Queer Botany aims to share marginalised perspectives and support more diverse representations in the environment and outdoors, and to this end has designed maps, installed interpretive displays, hosted botanical drawing sessions, and guided walks sharing stories about plants from a queer perspective. Queer Botany has worked with Chelsea Physic Garden, Wellcome Collection, Barbican Centre, The Royal Parks, Fierce (Birmingham), Sutton House & Breaker’s Yard (National Trust), and Fringe! Queer Film & Arts Festival. 1 / 11 / 2022 - Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens In 2002, Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle fell in love and have worked together collaboratively ever since, doing visual art, performance, theater, and happenings. They launched the Ecosex Movement (2008) from their home base in San Francisco, and have been doing art experiments to make environmental activism more fun and diverse. Career highlights include Wedding to the Sea at the Venice Biennale, being Documenta 14 artists, and a screening of their documentary film Water Makes Us Wet at NY MoMA. They received a Guggenheim Grant in 2021 for their current film project, Playing with Fire. Their book (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) Assuming the Ecosexual Position—Earth as Lover chronicles their art/life adventures. 3 / 11 / 2022 - Fereshteh Toosi Fereshteh Toosi designs experiences that pose questions and foster animistic connections through encounter, exchange, and sensory inquiry. Their artwork often involves documentary processes, oral history, and archival research. Immersive performances are produced in conjunction with small sculptures, short films, installations, scores, and poetry, often situated outdoors in gardens, parks, and waterways.

Fereshteh is an educator, learner, and an artist of the Iranian and Azeri diaspora, currently in Miami-Dade on stolen lands still stewarded by the Miccosukee and Seminole people, and previously by the Calusa and Tequesta tribal bands. South Florida is home to many Indigenous people, as well as Black, Brown, and Caribbean people whose ancestors lived and worked on the land against their will, while enslaved, or under threat of violence. Fereshteh’s work relies on the extractive and colonial infrastructure of digital computation which uses electronics and servers, all of which are made possible by occupying places where other beings live, or once lived. 8 / 11 / 2022 - Jack Halberstam Jack Halberstam is a Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including Skin Shows: othic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines, and collections. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book on Fascism and (homo)sexuality.

Jack Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies with Ira Livingston (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include queer failure, sex, media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, and animation. 15 / 11 / 2022 - Christy Gast Christy Gast is an artist whose work across media stems from extensive research and site visits to places she thinks of as “contested landscapes.” She is interested in places where there is evidence of conflict in human desires, which she traces, translates or mirrors through her art practice. Since 2010 she has worked with Ensayos, a collective research practice working on issues of political ecology in Tierra del Fuego and other archipelagos. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA/P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Performa, Artist’s Space, Harris Lieberman Gallery and Regina Rex in New York; the Pérez Art Museum of Miami, Bass Museum of Art, de la Cruz Collection, Locust Projects, and Nina Johnson in Miami; as well as Mass MoCA, the American University Museum, L.A.C.E., High Desert Test Sites, Centro Cultural Matucana 100 (Chile), the Kadist Foundation (Paris) and Milani Gallery (Brisbane). She has received grants and awards from the Art Matters Foundation, Funding Arts Network, South Florida Cultural Consortium, Tigertail, the American Austrian Foundation Hayward Prize, and the Joan Sovern Sculpture Award from Columbia University.

22 / 11 / 2022 - Institute for Postnatural Studies After a brief introduction to the postnatural framework, this session will focus on new modes of overcoming the human/animal binomial. We will explore how humans have interacted with animals in western culture and contrast it with other approaches to multi-species coexistence. Collectively we will also exercise different ways of embodying an expanded notion of the human-animal through vocal activations and roleplaying through hybrid bodies. Case studies of wild children, the phonocene, contemporary artistic practices, and different cultural and popular subgenres of identity and sexuality will provide a horizontal and fertile platform to discuss and learn from each other.

For student discount or registration to the full Network Program, send an email to

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