Participants ’16



Rising Waters Confab II will bring together the diverse perspectives of architects, artists, scientists, writers and other creative thinkers to address issues of climate change. Low-lying landmasses, such as Captiva Island, present a laboratory and a platform to address the first wave of rising waters worldwide and are the first to be affected by global weather disturbances. Captiva Island, resting at sea level, will serve as a “ground zero” threshold for discussions and actions on how one of the most crucial issues of our time will be addressed.

Buster Simpson
Visual Artist, Rising Waters II Curator

For more than four decades, Buster Simpson has been the ecological and social conscience for neighborhoods and cities in constant states of transition and renewal. His site-specific, agitprop, and process-driven art has surveyed the problems, scrutinized the context, and presented new frames of reference to provide local solutions for global issues. He employs intervention and temporary prototypes as a way to inform more lasting public works. Simpson is based in Seattle.

Glenn Weiss
Artist/Architect/Curator/Activist, Rising Waters II Organizer

Glenn Weiss responds to a particular place with interjections designed to critique standard human observations and habits regarding that place. Photographically, he records multiple occurrences of the same process acting in the same place at the same time. Much of his work engages horizontal land surfaces. Previously, he spent 25 years assisting counties, cities, museums, and community organizations improving their civic spaces with public art.  Weiss lives in Delray Beach, Florida.

Kristie Anders
Education Director, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation

Balanced between the objectivity of science and the subjectivity of the arts, teeters, what the Park Service calls, “interpretation.” Kristie Anders is an interpretive park ranger and lives and works within that space as a raconteur of natural and cultural history. She is driven by curiosity, schooled in the sciences, and is developing an ever-deepening appreciation for the arts as an agent for change. Anders lives and works in Sanibel, Florida.

Rachel Armstrong
Architectural Designer/Writer

Rachel Armstrong collaborates across disciplines, bringing together scientists and architects to develop “metabolic materials” that couple artificial structures to natural ones. Metabolic materials anticipate that our buildings will transition from inert to living matter and become part of the biosphere, and it is hoped that cities incorporating them will replace the energy they use, respond to the needs of their populations, and eventually become regarded as “alive.” Armstrong lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

Amy Balkin

Amy Balkin’s projects propose a reconstituted commons, taking into consideration legal borders and systems, environmental justice, and equitable sharing of common-pool resources in the context of climate change. Such projects include Public Smog; A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting, a clean-air park, and This is the Public Domain, an ongoing effort to create a permanent international commons. Balkin is based in San Francisco.

Leonard Berry
Environmental Scientist

Leonard Berry’s areas of expertise include geomorphology, wetland ecosystems, and adaptation and mitigation of climate change. He is the former director of the Center for Environmental Studies and coordinator of the Climate Change Initiative at Florida Atlantic University. Born in England, he studied tropical environments in East and South Asia, and later in Eastern Africa, with 12 years residence in that area in various university positions. Berry lives in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Christopher Cozier

Christopher Cozier’s work exposes the social impact of commercial expansion and political opportunism. Taking conditions in post-independence Trinidad and Tobago – an oil rich nation – as his point of entry, he is attuned to cultural shifts and historical erasure that have accompanied recent economic policies within the Caribbean region. His works cast a critical gaze on the realities of new-colonial enterprise while referencing fraught histories of Western colonialism. Cozier lives in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Colin Foord
Marine Biologist

Colin Foord is the co-founder of the marine biological art duo Coral Morphologic. Coral Morphologic’s work is rooted in its location in Miami: a city built primarily upon limestone recycled from thousands of years of reef-building, bordered by two national parks, and home to a diverse cultural community that mirrors its colorful aquatic ecosystems. Through site-specific artworks, advocacy, and films, Coral Morphologic seeks to elevate corals as the new icon for a 21st century Miami.

Matt Gamel
Environmental Scientist

Matt Gamel’s scientific work focuses on marine science and aquaculture. He developed a process of culturing pearls inside local pen shells and, with a team of researchers, has formed the Gulf Coast Pearls Initiative, which hopes to build the first commercial pearl farm in the US. As an artist, he works to convey in physical form the wonder and elegance he sees through the lens of science.  Gamel lives off the coast of Captiva, Florida.

Jared Genova
Urban Strategist/Designer

Jared Genova is the Resilience Project Manager for the City of New Orleans. He works at the intersection of environmental, social, and economic threats in a place already experiencing the symptoms of a changing climate. Genova managed the development of Resilient New Orleans as part of the City’s partnership with 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation. He is now actively designing the implementation and coordination of the actions outlined in the strategy.

Lisa Hirmer
Social Practice Artist

Lisa Hirmer is an inter-disciplinary Canadian artist whose work combines visual art, social practice, performance, design and art-based forms of critical research. She creates the majority of her work under the pseudonym DodoLab, an experimental practice focused on exploring and responding to the nebulous, complicated reality of public opinion (acknowledging this is itself a complicated idea).

Robert and Irene Keim
Geographers/Theologians/Ecological Justice Activists

Robert Keim is the former Director of Geographic Information Services for Hillsborough County, Florida, and his wife Irene was a Systems Engineer for GTE Data Services. Their post-career work has been a journey through Theology and Ecological Justice, endeavoring to address climate change from human and natural perspectives while creating patterns of thought and expression for both their broader Unitarian Universalist communities and other faiths with whom they engage. The Keims live in Bushnell, Florida.

Mick Lorusso
Visual Artist

Mick Lorusso applies technology called a Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) – in which bacteria cultured from river water produce electrical current while breaking down organic waste – to power lights for sculptural and theatrical elements. These MFC projects provoke a sense of mystery around the energy that extends through our food, waste, and soil, while suggesting symbiosis between microorganisms, humans, and technology that may become integral to a post-fossil fuel future. Lorusso lives in Costa Mesa, California.

Pat Oleszko
Visual/Performance Artist

Pat Oleszko makes a spectacle of herself – and doesn’t mind if you laugh. Using the world as a stooge, her work includes elaborate costumes and props incorporated into diverse performances, film, installations with lithe accompaniment, spatial events with the cast-off thousands, and uttered shenanigans. Making pedestrian sculpture has been the access to excesses in a variety of situations, subversions, and insinuations. Pat lives in New York City.

Smudge Studio
Social Practice Artists

Smudge Studio is a nonprofit media arts collaboration founded by Liz Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse. Through their projects and performative research, they design and cultivate embodied practices that support humans in paying nuanced attention to the fast and intense material realities that are now emerging on a planetary scale – without leaving them reeling in states of distraction or despair. Smudge Studio is located in New York City.

Tattfoo Tan
Social Practice Artist

Tattfoo Tan’s art practice responds to issues of ecology, climate change, and nutrition. His unique art making process consists of learning new forms of knowledge, practicing them, and, in turn, teaching others. His decade-long trilogy of projects – Nature Matching System, Sustainable. Organic. Stewardship., and New Earth – have been shown widely and made into replicable manuals to inspire the public to take action. Tan is based in New York City.

Sara Zewde
Designer/Landscape Architect/Urbanist

Sara Zewde’s practice centers on the relationship between ecology and culture as a creative departure for design. As the architectural fields work in increasingly challenged contexts, Sara’s design practice operationalizes notions of joy, comfort, and ritual to engage these challenges directly. Research and analysis are integral to her design process as methods for interpreting “ecologies of culture.” Zewde lives and works in Seattle.

Marina Zurkow
Visual/Media Artist

Marina Zurkow is a media artist focused on near-impossible nature and culture intersections. She uses life science, materials, and technologies – including food, software, clay, animation, mycelium, and petrochemicals (when necessary) – to foster intimate connections between people and non-human agents. Through the experience of her projects, it is clear that nature has long been a stage upon which we project ourselves, making ourselves other. Zurkow lives in Brooklyn