Reshaping the Shape: Embodiment, Ecology, and Culture of a Postnatural Fish

Reshaping the Shape: upcoming and ongoing, with Andy Yang
At Southern Illinois Museum, Carbondale, October 11-November 30

The Asian Carp is a creature of the Anthropocene par excellence. Reviled for its invasiveness in the Mississippi watershed, it has become part of the river’s second nature and is in fact naturalized. By exploring the entangled cultural and natural history of the carp fundamental questions arise concerning how humans, non-humans, and landscapes reshape each other. Reshaping the Shape seeks to follow the stories and forms through which the Asian Carp might be reimagined and transformed from public enemy to a mascot of a global commons.

Naxilandia in the 17th

Naxilandia is a semi-fictional inquiry into the elective, empowered, and social nature of subsistence agriculture and its potential of resistance in the face of nation building. Recorded over six months in rural Yunnan Province, this multi-channel video installation traces the contradictions created as subsistence life encounters enclosure. 
On the occasion of the 17th Congress of the People’s Republic of China in 2007, 30 years into the process of “reform and opening up,” President Hu Jintao pledged to extend agricultural modernization to the nation’s indigenous highland homes.  Three or four channel video installation, variable size, 70 minutes

The visual montage in channels one and two is accompanied by a text channel that combines context along with personal narrative

Subsistence farming on the hills above the Yangtze River in Wumu

Tourism economies and forced development segment

The Earth Will Not Abide

The Earth Will Not Abide has been conceived as a research process, gallery installation and public forum, with specific relevance for both North and South America and China.
The research process draws on multiple disciplines to connect local experiences with global-scale transformations. The results are presented through written analysis, audiovisual documentation and focused interviews, but also through aesthetic experimentation. The research is ongoing and invites fresh input from farmers, academics, technical specialists and public intellectuals. 

The gallery exhibition comprises a core of tightly articulated artworks, which can be expanded through the inclusion of local artists or the addition of new works by members of the initial group. The aim is to provide an immersive experience that incites curiosity and unleashes the imagination.

The Monsanto Hearings Documentary

The Monsanto Hearings video is a 58 minute documentary that introduces the Monsanto Hearings project. The video was produced by Sarah Kanouse and Sarah Lewison and screened at Documenta(13) in Kassel Germany. The film is available for community screenings.

The Monsanto Hearings video brings together fifteen testimonies from the first Monsanto Hearings, held in Carbondale Illinois and Iowa City, IA. The film moves back and forth between the testimonies given in the two locations, and also incorporates additional interviews from outside the courtroom. 

Fat of the Land

Fat of the Land is a 58 minute documentary about waste and energy, and ultimately, about the wastage of energy. Produced 1995. Biodiesel is a common fuel today but not in 1995 when this video was produced. We highlight the possibility of transportation energy solutions that drew resources from locally produced waste.  Waste grease biodiesel could supply at the time 10% of energy demand. Sarah Lewison and Nicole Cousino, with Gina Todus, Julie Konop and Florence Dore.

The course of biodiesel production and promotion has exceeded our preemptory imaginings; we  always believed it would be a terrible idea to grow crops for the production of bd as is happening now. To destroy existing peasant agricultural land for monocultures of coconut and other oil plants to burn in a diesel engine is not a just solution to societies energy needs.  

 More about

Fat of the Land

Pickles in translation: Autopoiesis and vibration

From Lijiang Studio INDEX, a series of events in NYC, September 2015

earthenware replicas of Yunnan Style Pickle Jars with vegetables, bacteria, fungi and text

Much of the research katalog (duskin drum and Sarah Lewison) did at Lijiang Studio involved observation, translation or appropriation of traditional subsistence technologies.

Salt fermentation is the dirty-delicious- point in the spectrum of fungal-human commensality.

Crystal Pascuci on cello
The colonies that characterize fermentation begin with logarithmic expansion, leading to a plateau and decline.

Autopoiesis and vibration. 
Bacterial symphonies.

Perhaps tiny, sovereign civilizations? 
Autonomous zones? 

Ferment Recipe from Zhou Qiao's dad

Discursive Seed Bombs in "At the Headwaters," Gary Indiana

Discursive Seed Bombs, an installation of language, seeds and agents-of-fertility (mud, mycelia, medicines), for the art exhibition "At the Headwaters", Gary Indiana, Nov 6-22. 

On November 15, poems and texts will be spoken out loud in an aleatorypublic reading and seed bomb making workshop. Seeds will be cobbled together with mycelia, soil and cut-up texts, and turned into seed bombs to be scattered along the Calumet watershed, to (maybe) generate new lives.
A copy of all contributions will be archived with event documentation. Contributors will receive an image.
Send poems via email to, subject line Seed Bomb, before November 10.
Or by post by Nov 10 to:
Seed Bomb,
Attn: Meg Roman
P.O. Box 2405
Gary, IN 46403
Include your street mailing address if you prefer a printed documentation (as opposed to a digital image.)