counterforce lab: news & events > eyes in the sky, birds in the heart and mind salon # 5

2023 counterforce lab salon series
eyes in the sky / birds in the heart + mind

salon # 5
prof. rebeca méndez (ucla dma) and dr. elizabeth deloughrey (ucla english and ioes) enter into conversation about the ocean in the anthropocene, engaging in reciprocity and connection with the animated ocean, and the process of connecting across arts, humanities, science, and Indigenous cultures in response to rampant extractivism, exploitation, and colonialism.
feb.27.2023 12:00 – 1:00pm 
eda broad art center at ucla
watch recorded event:

Our fifth and final lecture in the series features Prof. Rebeca Méndez, the Chair of the Department of Design Media Arts and director of the Counterforce Lab, in conversation with Dr. Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Professor in the English Department and the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability (IoES).

As an artist, designer, and educator, Prof. Méndez delves into projects around the social and ecological impacts of the anthropocene. She has created artworks through fieldwork practice and collaborations that bridge across design, science, and humanities envisioning a just response to the entrenched causes of ecological crises for humans and the more-than-human world we share. Dr. DeLoughrey examines climate change and the anthropocene through environmental humanities. Her expansive work has bridged decoloniality, Indigenous perspectives, militarization, and globalization, with a focus on the Caribbean and Pacific Islands.

Their conversation focus on how artistic, scientific, Indigenous, feminist, and environmental disciplinary lenses are employed to examine the diverse opportunities for interspecies friending beneath the sea surface.

Dr. Méndez discusses her immersive 360º video art installation, The Sea Around Us which portrays the Eastern Pacific Ocean as a place of rich interspecies connection and interaction. The art installation intimately explores the long-lasting effects of DDT pollution on oceanic life, while forming an interdisciplinary bridge between science, art, and Indigenous cultures, in order to encourage viewers to face environmental wrongings, take restorative action, and establish relationships with other species based on equality and reciprocity.

Dr. DeLoughrey shares an Oceanic worldview across art and science called “tidalectics” – which she defines as a methodological tool which investigates the entanglement between sea and land, diaspora and indigeneity, and routes and roots – and the dynamics of our more-than-human watery planet. She stresses the important contribution of “tidalectics” in forming complex and dynamic stories about the relationship between land and sea in order to challenge dominant narratives about Indigenous and inter-species exploitation.

Ultimately, Dr. Méndez and Dr. DeLoughrey will engage in a thoughtful conversation about humans' relationships to watery environments in order to encourage relationships of reciprocity and respect with the ecologies, species, and cultures that are not only around us, but a part of us.