CULTIVATE is pleased to present an artist talk and discussion with contemporary artist, curator, and cultural strategist Elena Soterakis.

Intertwining Roots: BioArt and the Environmental Nexus is set against the backdrop of the pioneering exhibition Soterakis co-curated at BioBAT Art Space, “Embodied Futures and The Ecology of Care.” In this talk, she aims to peel back the layers of traditional environmentalism, exploring the symbiotic relationship between art, biology, technology, and ethics. Through the lens of BioArt, she delves into how this innovative field not only challenges our perceptions of life and interconnectedness, but also acts as a catalyst for redefining the essence of care in our modern world as transcendent of human-centric frameworks.

“BioArt invites us to reimagine “care” not as a hierarchical obligation, but as a dynamic force that flows, sustains, and nurtures all forms of life. This perspective shift is vital,” Soterakis contends, “for fostering a deeper, more empathetic relationship with the living world, one that recognizes the intrinsic value of every being and the intricate web of life that binds us all.”

Summation & Absence, BioBAT Art Space, May–August 2019. Photography: On White Wall.

About: Elena Soterakis is an artist working at the forefront of biology and technology. Her interdisciplinary approaches to art-making include painting, sculpture, and aerospace productions. With her work, Soterakis explores themes of ecology, environmental degradation, and the connection between nature and technology. Her work has been showcased at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, the Museum of Art and Design in Atlanta, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and the Torrence Museum in California.

As a curator and cultural strategist, Elena Soterakis is a champion of the BioArt Movement. In 2019, she co-founded BioBAT Art Space, where she serves as the Executive Director. BIoBAT Art Space is a non-profit art gallery embedded within BioBAT Inc., a biotech research center located at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York City. BioBAT Art Space catalyzes and promotes creative experimentation in art and science through exhibitions, artist residencies, STEAM educational programs, and cultural events.

Soterakis is a co-founder and director of creative productions of Beyond Earth, a women-led international artist collective focusing on the convergence of art, space, and biology. On June 18, 2021, Beyond Earth’s installation ‘Living Light’ was launched into the stratosphere from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in collaboration with Space Perspective, a commercial space flight company. In 2022, their DNA-stored artworks, created with Twist BioScience, were exhibited at the International Space Station through the Moon Gallery Foundation.

On February 22, 2024, Soterakis’ open-source collaborative piece, ‘The Great Pause Project,’ documenting the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, was planted on the moon as part of Arch Mission’s Lunar Library 2.0. An ambitious endeavor by the Arch Mission Foundation to preserve human knowledge, culture, and experiences for future generations.

Soterakis received her MFA in painting from the New York Academy of Art and her BFA in illustration from The School of Visual Arts. Currently, Elena resides in both Brooklyn, New York, and Los Angeles, California.

About CULTIVATECultivate is an evolving collection of interdisciplinary artists, writers, and researchers driven by investigations of landscape, place, and the commons. Projects include experimental and practical art explorations that wrestle with the qualities, perceptions, and layers of experience that inform and expand notions of landscape. Ideas from a full spectrum of voices across generations are supported using sustainable tactics. From the hyper-local to the global, Cultivate reflects individual and collective curiosity, intention, imagining, and engagement with the phenomena of landscape.

Location: Shifting virtual and analog locations in watersheds around the globe with physical bases in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Montana, and Italy.

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