Country of origin
Meghan Moe Beitiks works with associations and disassociations of culture/nature/structure. She analyzes perceptions of ecology though the lenses of site, history, emotions, and her own body in order to produce work that interrogates relationships with the non-human. The work emerges as video, performance, installation, writing or photography depending on what arises from her process of research and improvisation. She has presented work in California, Chicago, Brooklyn, Wales, London, Latvia and Russia. She was a Fulbright Student Fellow in Theater to Latvia and was recently declared the School of the Art Institute of Chicago's recipient for the Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.
Beitiks worked with a uranium-reducing bacteria called Geobacter sulfurreducens. Studying closely the bacteria's anatomy and support apparatus, She explored ways to perform with it, as well as the bacteria's cultural environment within the lab, and the ecological implications of the bacteria's work.
In a series of works entitled A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness, the artist examines the human acts of reconciliation through ecological and cultural lenses. How do we apologize to one another? What needs an apology? Is it possible to apologize to a polluted landscape? The piece includes video, installation, and live performance elements.
G. sulfurreducens was discovered in 2001 by scientist Derek Lovely of University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It is primarily known for its ability to reduce Uranium-6—a non-containable form of radioactive uranium—to Uranium-4, a containable form of radioactive uranium. In A Lab for Apologies and Forgiveness, Beitiks explores this ability of the bacteria through multiple lenses: ecological, cultural and historical.
In version 3 of the Lab, a live performance in Chicago, the audience was asked to stand according to a diagram of scientists placed within a Manhattan Project Laboratory during a nuclear accident. Beitiks looped a clip from a movie starring John Cusack depicting the accident, while tossing participants 'seed bombs'—mixtures of compost, clay and seeds—as an attempt to culturally remediate the incident. Version 4 was a workshop with parishoners of the All Saints Episcopalian Church in Saugatuck, Michigan. Version 5, an attempt to performatively 'Intra-Act' with the bacteria, took place within the SymbioticA facilities. In the space of her "Lab," Beitiks looks for connections between ecological, cultural and emotional processes, inspired by the work of Karen Barad and Jane Bennett.
The Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists.
Period of research
May - August 2014