Land as Lab: LHI’s 2011 Sci-Art Symposium Collects Concerned Artists Outside San Antonio

by Bill Davenport August 28, 2011

On the 1200-acre Watson ranch on the Medina River outside San Antonio, the Land Heritage Institute’s longhorns graze near a retrofitted dairy barn and a newly-donated portable classroom that will be the site of next weekend’s 2011 LHI Art-Sci Symposium: Land as Lab.

Land as Lab continues the conversation begun at last year’s confab: a nationwide collection of visual and performing artists, scientists and activists engaged in interdisciplinary experiments with land, environment, water scarcity and urban-scapes convene in the aforementioned classroom, at 1349 Neal Road between Applewhite & Pleasanton Roads, San Antonio, TX  78221, to exchange ideas, and it’s free and open to the public beginning at 8:30am and continuing all day.

Appropriately, given the recent Texas weather, The symposium’s keynote presentation is by Hadley and Peter Arnold, the husband and wife team who founded and direct the Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University in Burbank, CA, where they’re looking towards a dry future. Other presenters include Jennifer Monson, artistic director of iLAND, Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance out of New york which investigates the power of dance to illuminate kinetic understandings of the world; Kirsten Stoltz, program director of M12, an art collective based in Denver;  Nancy Zastudil, co-founder of off-grid colony PLAND near Taos, NM.

Westside curandero Don Jacinto Madrigal and his muse, San Antonio College anthropologist Dr. Elizabeth de la Portilla, who will talk about their work foraging for local medicinals; hayrides with Texas A&M archaeologist Dr. Alston Thoms; local activist Mobi Warren talking about, a tour of an ancient endangered persimmon grove; a media presentation by former Art Lies editor Anjali Gupta and Pastelegram founder/editor Ariel Evans and videos from curator Andrea Grover’s DVD project At Your Service: Escaping the Progress Trap, longhorns, a chuck-wagon lunch and even a plant sale!

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