Laurel Braitman and Dario Robleto: The Common Denominator of Existence is Loss
Exploring the intersection of the artistic and scientific processes in the contexts of climate change, landscape transformation and biological extinctions, Dario Robleto and Laurel Braitman will give a talk about their experiences as artist and biologist, working together. Both will address questions of geologic time scales and evolution, the digging up of bones, the ways in which various scientific disciplines (and the scientists themselves) deal with the loss of their subjects.
Laurel Braitman is a PhD candidate in the History, Anthropology and Science, Technology and Society program at MIT. Her research interests include the environmental history of the United States and Latin America, as well as the emergence of psychotherapeutic interventions for nonhuman animals--such as the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, like PTSD in elephants and chimpanzees, and trauma therapies for parrots and dogs. She has worked as a biologist studying grizzly bears on the Katmai Peninsula in Alaska and fisheries management in the Amazon Basin, as well as a conservation professional with the international conservation organization-- Rare. Her written work has appeared in Orion Magazine and on National Public Radio online. Laurel also helped organize and develop the traveling contemporary art exhibition Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet-- now at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Dario Robleto this conceptual artist’s work is a veritable mixtape of humanity, and sometimes he even makes mixtapes (and a plethora of other objects) using human bones. It is in the recycling and recombination of material that Robleto finds real newness and hope for a civilization still dealing with the devastation (and the amazing innovations) of the 20th century as it enters the ever uncertain territory of the 21st. When he remixes materials and histories--much like the hip-hop DJ from whom he takes both literal and philosophical cues--his work finds in the old and forgotten a wellspring for new associations, reflecting back our own concepts of these old things and giving us new possibilities for imagining the future. Dario’s recent exhibitions include solo shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego/Downtown; and the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX. He lives and works in San Antonio.