After a tremendous experience in Wisconsin at the Kohler Residency, I am committed to a high quality of life, both as means of artistic production, and as a mechanism of community healthcare. In fact, I recently submitted an application to the Scholar/Artist-In-Residence program at the Getty Research Institute, targeting their theme of Art + Ecology and am investigating a possible collaborative building project with The Sustainable Design Group in Gainesville, Florida. A preliminary draft of my conceptual approach is below.

“Mercy, Mercy, Me” is an evolving investigation that explores sustainability practices as an expression of a black American vernacular.  Recycling, repair, and reuse are cultural hallmarks that have been successfully used for eco-centric marketing, by positioning these behaviors as either a kind of “new” awareness or connected to an artisanal approach that emphasizes phenotypic whiteness.   I believe this systematic tendency creates psychological distance between communities of color and the ecology, effectively misrepresenting their roles as environmental actors. I am also interested in how environmental issues have been racialized through zoning, municipal waste management, homeownership, as well as the material use and design of public housing projects.  The Leonard Nadel archive is a significant part of my research, but I am also investigating Marvin Gaye’s album “What’s Going On”, interpreted as a scholarly text.  Additional research streams include homemaking in the American South, environmental outcomes of The Great Migration, Robin Nagle’s work with the New York City Sanitation Department and organizations, like Outdoor Afro.  I believe the environmental adaptations found in communities of color have particular aesthetic qualities, that could be used in artistic production while revealing sustainable processes that are more inclusive.