about

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint
Cary Peppermint and Leila Nadir picking blueberries near their backcountry studio in western Maine.

Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint have been working together for over a decade to investigate contemporary experiences of food, ecology, media, and memory. Working simultaneously as artists, scholars, critics, teachers, and scholars, Leila and Cary create participatory situations and social sculptures that facilitate recovery from what they call “industrial amnesia”–a cultural memory disorder caused by the industrialization of the planet. Their projects operate through public creativity, democratic experimentation, and open-ended collaboration, bringing endangered food and environmental practices into poetic visibility, feeling-perception, and the simple acts of everyday life. Their work merges distinct disciplinary training, diverse ecological systems, and primitive and emergent technologies: pre-industrial food, biological systems, solar energy, ancient meditation practices, romantic literature, theories of modernity, and new media technologies. Leila + Cary’s projects have taken the form of architectural interventions and urban wilderness tours, net art and public performances, scholarly articles and poetic essays, earning support from Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Center for Land Use Interpretation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, K2 Family Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, and numerous academic fellowships. Their performances, exhibitions, and lectures have taken place at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Postmasters Gallery, New York University, 319 Scholes, Smackmellon Gallery, Exit Art, U.C.L.A., M.I.T. Media Lab, ISEA 2012, Banff New Media Institute, European Media Art Festival, Parsons The New School for Design, and the Neuberger Museum of Art, and their work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum, Walker Art Center, Rhizome.org, Turbulence.org of New Radio & Performing Arts, and Cornell University Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art.

Personal Biographies

Leila Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and creative writer, and teaches environmental humanities courses in the Sustainability and Digital Media Studies programs at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD in English from Columbia University in 2009, where she studied environmental thought, critical theory, and contemporary literature, and was Andrew Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow of Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College in 2010-2011. Her essays, reviews, and scholarship about natural, built, and digital environments appear regularly in academic journals, such as Leonardo, Antennae, Cather Studies, and Utopian Studies, and in popular print and online magazines, including American Scientist, North American Review, Hyperallergic, Furtherfield, Big Red and Shiny, and Rhizome.org. In 2011, the Society for Utopian Studies awarded her its Eugenio Battisti Award, and early in 2007 its Arthur O. Lewis Award, for her scholarship connecting the fields of environmental studies and utopian thought. For Leila’s personal website, click here.

Cary Peppermint’s solo art performances were some of the first to examine the effect of online spaces on the ways we imagination the environment and have been exhibited by the Whitney Museum (New York), Moving Image Gallery (New York), Pace Digital Gallery (New York), M.I.T. Media Lab (Boston), International Symposium for Electronic Art (Chicago), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Center for Contemporary Art (Scotland), European Media Art Festival (Osnabrück), Itaú Culturales (Sao Paulo), the Kitchen (New York). Described by Artforum as “twenty-first-century takes on Warhol’s Factory,” Peppermint’s early work has been chronicled in Alex Galloway’s Protocol (MIT Press, 2004), Jon Ippolito and Joline Blais’s At the Edge of Art (Thames&Hudson, 2006), and Mark Tribe and Reena Janna’s New Media Art (Taschen, 2006), among other critical texts. He is currently Assistant Professor of Digital Art at University of Rochester. Visit restlessculture for an archive of his net art performances from 1997 to 2003.