Three people wearing lab coats talking to a women while pushing a white hand cart.

Chronoecology Corps

art Baltimore,
  • public art
  • sculpture
  • video

A group of time traveling scientists from the Twenty Third century study the natural world before it disappears. Presented through a wide range of media, the fictional Chronoecology Corps addresses contemporary ecological crisis through participation, humor, and journalistic research. Centered around performances in public spaces, the project uses theatrical settings, interactive props, and narrative media like comics and cinema to deploy imagination as an activist strategy.

A man in a white lab coat pointing a corded device at a woman wearing a black helmet

Utilizing futuristic simulators and interactive props, the Chronoecology performances occured in public spaces, attracting curious pedestrians to participate in the time travelers' mission. The Chronoecologists also recorded interviews with participants about their relationships to the natural world. Studying nature is a kind of archaeology for the Chronoecologists and their research is informed by the subjective input of real-world participants. Incorporating memories, stories, and conversations, the interviews collected during this project were edited and made available on the project's website (currently offline) as an interactive database. The interviews were alternately banal and fascinating: awash with nostalgia for childhood memories, but also confusion about how to describe and define nature.

In addition to costumed actors, the performances use interactive sculptures simulating natural phenomena (eg. the feeling of rainfall or the sound of crickets in the dark) to establish a temporary theater in pedestrian areas. These sculptures and other props are all made from found materials glued and bolted into makeshift gadgets - their excessive knobs and wires underscoring the performance's location in the realm of SciFi.

Chronoecology Field Report 2013064 is a short feature video detailing the Chronoecology Corps’s visits to the mid-atlantic region in 2013. Interviews with real life activists, farmers, and city planners in this pseudo-documentary convey a sense of the conversations that occurred during performances. The documentary format provides a contrast to the fictional story and creates a unique breed of SciFi journalism that collides imagination with activism.

Documenting both the artist's performance and the implied research of the fictional Chronoecology Corps, the objects and installations associated with the project imply a sense of ongoing work. Creating spaces reminiscent of laboratories and SciFi Wunderkammers, these installations provide a rich visual journey through rows of jarred specimens and questionable scientific gear.