Environmentalism Outside the Box: An Ecosex Symposium

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UC Santa Cruz art professor Elizabeth Stephens (right) with her artistic collaborator Annie Sprinkle

Environmentalism Outside the Box: An Ecosex Symposium is the title of a free public event that will take place on May 18-19, hosted by the E.A.R.T.H. Lab, a research center of the Arts Division at UC Santa Cruz.

Panels, music, film, and performance art will be the catalyst for exploring how environmentalism intersects with race, class, sexuality, and social justice.

The aim of the event is to stimulate discussion and discover new ways of working by encouraging cross-pollination between artists, philosophers, critics, sexologists, scientists, students, and activists.

The symposium will begin with an introduction to Ecosex by the event hosts, UC Santa Cruz art professor Elizabeth Stephens and her artistic collaborator Annie Sprinkle.

“Research has shown that films, performances, and art create empathetic connections that science often doesn’t,” said Stephens.  

“By bridging ecology with sexology, approaching harsh realities with some humor and joy, and using aesthetic surprises, we can develop fresh, inclusive ways to reach and engage new audiences such as LGBTQIE folks, people of color, indigenous peoples, sex positive communities, punk rockers, fringe artists, and other communities that are not historically included in mainstream environmental discussions.”

The program will include “Story Telling for Earthly Survival”--a film screening and discussion with UC Santa Cruz emerita professor Donna Haraway and filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova.

Ongoing ambient performance art pieces, as well as scheduled performances, will take place throughout the two-day event on campus at the Digital Arts Research Center (DARC building).

A sculptural centerpiece of the conference will be E.A.R.T.H. Lab’s “Pollination Pod”--a recycled camper made into a mobile art vehicle with an ecosensual theme, which serves as an installation, meeting-place, and performance art venue. The Pollination Pod will be parked outside the DARC building for the duration of the symposium.

Related off-campus events include a book launch and collaborative reading of Stephens and Sprinkle’s Explorer’s Guide to Planet Orgasm, hosted by Pure Pleasure, on May 20 at noon, providing an opportunity to delve into the history of orgasm research.

Admission to the symposium is free. For more information and a full event schedule, visit https://earthlab.ucsc.edu/ecosex-symposium/.