School of Marine & Environmental Affairs Professor Cleo Woelfle-Erskine and Comparative History of Ideas Department and Program on the Environment Lecturer July Hazard put together a series to ask “what is queer ecology?” The series includes climate scientists, ecologists, choreographers, poets, and creatives who each share unique perspectives on how queer and trans identities can and do play important roles in shifting the way we think about the sciences and our relations with the more-than-human. This project is part of Woelfle-Erskine and Hazard’s 2019-2020 Centrum Northwest Heritage residencies, made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Together, they collaborate with other artists, scientists, and activists to investigate hidden flows and suppressed ways of being, and to evoke new relations among people and the more-than-human world. Often, these collaborations form uprisings of an ever-shifting art & science collective called the Water Underground. Their shared work has been seen at venues ranging from derelict rail yards and street protests to museums and science conferences—including SomARTS, CounterPulse, the Crocker Museum, and the Henry Art Gallery, the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, and the San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, the Bay Delta Science Conference, on Sproul Plaza during Occupy Berkeley, and wheat-pasted around Oakland, California. Their performance installation “Tell A Salmon Your Troubles” won the inaugural Making and Doing Prize at the 2015 Society for the Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting.
In Part 1 of their podcast, Michelle Hagewood sits down with these creative folks to learn more about what brought them to this work, what it means to them, and what the past couple of years have looked like in their work, play, and pandemic-affected lives. We learn a bit of what we have to look forward to in the interviews that will follow.