Profile: Leila Nadir Artist Last Update:December 7, 2017

Microbial Selfies (prints), 20"x30", collage: Kim Chi, Blueberry Mead, Red Cabbage Kraut, 2015.

Leila Nadir is an Afghan-American critic, scholar, artist, and creative writer, and lecturer in Sustainability and Environmental Humanities at the University of Rochester. She earned her PhD in English from Columbia University in 2009, where she studied environmental thought, critical theory, and contemporary literature, and was Andrew Mellon Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellow of Environmental Humanities at Wellesley College in 2010-2011.

Her essays, reviews, and scholarship about natural, built, and digital environments appear regularly in academic journals, such as Leonardo, Antennae, Cather Studies, and Utopian Studies, and in popular print and online magazines, includingAmerican Scientist, North American Review, Hyperallergic, Furtherfield, Big Red and Shiny, and Rhizome.org. In 2011, the Society for Utopian Studies awarded her its Eugenio Battisti Award, and early in 2007 its Arthur O. Lewis Award, for her scholarship connecting the fields of environmental studies and utopian thought.

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.

Selected Work

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Microbial Selfies (prints), 20 Microbial Selfies Interface at CR10 Contemporary Arts Project Space, Hudson Valley, 2015. School of Live Culture, social practice artwork with Youth Leadership Team of Seedfolk City Farm and University of Rochester, 2016. Image from BASECAMP.EXE, 2013-2014.
Fir Tree Combinators, interactive ecological display created with recycled Nokia screens from BASECAMP.EXE, 2013-2014.