PPEH announces 2020 Artist-in-Residence, Amy Balkin

February 13, 2020

The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities is proud to announce our 2020 Artist in Residence: Amy Balkin. Based in San Francisco, Amy Balkin’s solo and collaborative work explores and re-imagines humans’ relationships to the natural world and how planetary resources have been used and valued. Often explicitly critical of the economic and political forces that frame these resources, she thinks beyond borders and nation-states to radically recast contemporary regimes of allocation and ownership. Projects such as A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting (Balkin et al.) engage with or document individuals and communities struggling for social and environmental justice. Whether by creating a participatory archive of objects from places that will disappear from global warming; by offering an environmental justice audio tour along a highway in Invisible-5; or by creating a “clean air park,” Public Smog, with purchased emission credits; the work is threaded with questions of power: who is entitled to nominate and enforce protections for the more than human world and who benefits.

iceberg with a hand and pencil in the foreground
Amy Balkin reading IPCC report

Of her residency with PPEH, Balkin writes: "I'm excited to work with the Penn Program in Environmental Humanities because of the program's history of cross-cutting, expansive, rapid-response initiatives like Data Refuge, engagement with environmental justice, and work with previous visiting artists like Mary Mattingly. Many of my own projects deal with climate change and its data and the stakes of representation and participation, including information asymmetry, making things visible, and participatory data and archiving."

Amy Balkin will be in residence in Philadelphia for two short-term stays in the spring and fall of 2020. The two residency periods coincide with major public events organized by PPEH which Balkin will also participate in and will include at least one public workshop for the Penn community. In addition to delivering an artist's talk in conjunction with PPEH’s Climate Sensing and Data Storytelling festival, Balkin's first visit, in May 2020, will be dedicated to open research and dialog to shape plans for the work to be presented in the fall of 2020. Her second stay in Philadelphia will coincide with “Now We Are Six,” a celebration of our young program’s first six years and a book launch for the forthcoming Timescales: Thinking Across Ecological Temporalities. The residency will conclude with public opportunities to experience Balkin’s new work created with support from PPEH.

Amy Balkin's statistic garden

Balkin's work has been exhibited in Sublime (Centre Pompidou Metz), Hybris (MUSAC), Rights of Nature (Nottingham Contemporary), and dOCUMENTA (13), and published in Decolonizing Nature (Sternberg), Materiality (Whitechapel/MIT) and Critical Landscapes (UC Press).

Previous Interviews with Amy Balkin:

Interview with Felix Bahret, Form IV issue 13 Exobiology - http://formiv.com/thing-013-exobiology/

BOMB Magazine - https://bombmagazine.org/articles/amy-balkin/

Mousse Magazine 2012 - http://tomorrowmorning.net/texts/Mousse_d13_Amy%20Balkin.pdf


About the PPEH Artist Residency Program                   

​Previous artists-in-residence at PPEH include Roderick Coover, who premiered his multimodal The Altering Shores at the Annenberg Performing Arts Center in November 2019 as part of PPEH's Environmental Storytelling and Virtual Reality festival; Jacob Rivkin, whose public art installation Floating Archives, traveled up the Schuylkill River in September 2018; Troy Herion, Mimi Lien, and Dan Rothenberg, whose hybrid musical theater production​ A Period of Animate Existence​ was workshopped during their residency before its world premiere headlining Philadelphia’s 2017 Fringe Festival; and Mary Mattingly, who was PPEH’s inaugural artist-in-residence, and who developed ​WetLand as a floating laboratory for experiments in sustainability on the lower, tidal Schuylkill River, in collaboration with Bartram’s Garden.