Elers Koch Lecture: Second Nature

  • Where: Zootown Arts Community Center 216 W Main. St. Missoula, Montana
  • When: Oct 23rd, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Join visiting artist Anne Yoncha for a discussion about her work doing “data materialization” of places we’ve forever altered through extraction and other human activity. Yoncha is a Professor of Art at Metropolitan State University Denver, a Fulbright Fellow in Finland, a UM Master's of Fine Arts alumna, and a Researcher with High Altitude Bioprospecting (HAB).

First, we’ll travel halfway north in Finland to look at Sphagnum moss, the plant that engineers the peatland ecosystem. While peat is an important source of local fuel and jobs, it develops and accumulates so slowly it is not a renewable biofuel. We’ll take a look and listen at this slow-growing, arctic-winter-surviving plant and the soil that’s left behind once it’s extracted.

Then, we’ll travel further north to Finnish Lapland alongside a HAB expedition. HAB is a long-term quest to explore extreme environments, particularly the stratosphere and detect and capture microorganisms that may live or survive there. HAB collaborators come from the worlds of science, engineering, art, and math. Our work attempts to detect and make contact with the invisible microbial life in the air, extremophile beings understood as both a co-existing benign presence or as a potential threat.

Co-hosted by the University of Montana Wilderness Institute and the School of Visual and Media Arts.

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