Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint have been working together for over a decade to investigate contemporary experiences of digital media, food, ecology, and memory. Working simultaneously as artists, teachers, and critics, they create participatory situations and social sculptures that facilitate recovery from a cultural memory disorder that they call “industrial amnesia.” Through open-ended, experimental collaborations with the public, their projects bring endangered food and environmental practices into poetic visibility, feeling-perception, and the simple acts of everyday life and have taken form as networked (smart) architectural interventions and urban wilderness apps, internet art and public performances, scholarly articles and poetic essays. Leila and Cary have earned 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, Culture Push, 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.
Leila Christine Nadir is an Afghan-American artist, writer, and educator focusing on memory and healing across media. Her essays explore her experiences of being part of an Afghan diaspora whose members have survived war, trauma, and displacement, and her artworks recover ancient food practices buried by the industrial food system. Memory, time, and healing have been an obsession for as long as she can remember: as a child, she tape-recorded family conversations and replayed them over and over, fascinated by the passage of time, the disintegration of memory, and the insight gained by taking a closer look. Known for her environmental collaborations with artist Cary Peppermint, which are documented at leilacary.xyz and EcoArtTech.net, Leila’s primary creative focus today is writing her memoir, Bad Muslim, about her childhood growing up within the colorful, turbulent marriage of her Afghan, Muslim father and Slovak-American, Catholic mother, who together raised seven children. Chapters and essays from this project about ethnic identity, racism, religion, and coming-of-age are in publication.
A Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral fellow and New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, Leila earned her PhD in English & Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Her scholarly and personal essays have appeared in McSweeney’s, North American Review, Asian American Literary Review, Aster(ix), Leonardo, Rhizome.org, Cather Studies, Utopian Studies, Hyperallergic, among other places, including American Scientist, for which she writes a regular column on artists engaging science. Her scholarship has received the Eugenio Battisti Award and the Arthur O. Lewis Award from the Society of Utopian Studies, and her creative projects have been supported by the Whitney Museum of Art, New Museum, Neuberger Museum of Art, M.I.T. Media Lab, UCLA Sci|Art Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Banff New Media Institute, and New York State Council on the Arts. Leila is currently Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Rochester, where she is also Founding Director of the Environmental Humanities Program. She has taught previously at Columbia University, Wellesley College, Colgate University, and Oneonta State College. 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 imagine 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 an Associate Professor in the department of Art and Art History at University of Rochester.