"Encompassing site-studies, ethnography, and archival research at ecological and historical institutions, my fellowship project will investigate the local cultures--human and nonhuman--of the Pine Barrens, New Jersey that have been erased or are under threat of erasure by the processes of industrialization and environmental degradation. More specifically, my project will examine the connections and tensions between the contemporary movements to preserve the 'wilderness' of the Pine Barrens and the human culture of its long-standing communities. At the same time, my research of the Pine Barrens represents a critical opportunity to investigate the ways that Holt and Smithson collaboratively and individually produced work in response to the same site. Finally, my research addresses the question of how contemporary art can productively respond to and mediate the various land uses of the site to achieve a sustainable future."
Rory O’Dea is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art and Design and the Associate Dean of the School of Art and Design History and Theory. He received his PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, and his scholarship explores the ways that visual art intersects with ecology, geology, and fiction as a means to produce speculative realities and alternative modes of knowledge. At Parsons, his pedagogy is rooted in the intersection of theory and practice and explores the ways that art history shapes and is shaped by artistic research. His monograph titled Robert Smithson, Land Art, and Speculative Realities will be published by Routledge in 2023.