Ecological Consciousness Raising Through Art


Livable Futures student fellow Calista Lyon presented her new work The Unknown and the Unnamed in March at the Urban Arts Space in Columbus, OH. A collaborative hybrid performance drawing from a range of forms including the educational lecture, essay, memoir and family slide-show evenings, the piece shares the natureculture narratives of Australian native orchids and their ecological, scientific and political entanglements. The narrative emerges from place, specifically Lyon’s childhood home in Australia. Imagery projected through light is interwoven with interviews, field recordings, video, archival imagery and new photography to reveal how memories of place are centered in the body - both human and non-human. The work, Lyon writes “was born out of the question—how can we learn from and change our relations with non-human worlds to grow more livable futures?” A concern for human and non-human life and the ethics of care in this continuum are recurrent themes in the Livable Futures community and Lyon’s work is a vibrant contribution to this developing dialog and as she says “ecological consciousness raising” through art.

The first performance of The Unknown and the Unnamed was part of the Science and Technology Symposium at OSU, both performances drawing a large crowd. Working with six performers Lyon’s voice threaded throughout the seventy-minute performance while visual imagery was circulated by the work of the performers on overhead projectors. Lyon states, “I am invested in the translation and inheritance of storying and knowledge via the body through the primacy of touching, looking, speaking and listening.” The performance also involved performance artist Sahily Tamayo who engaged directly with Lyon’s ceramic models, Interspecies Intimacies following the performance.


Performers: Sahily Tamayo, Mary Jane Ward, Amery Kessler, Molly Rideout, Bryan Ortiz, Tui Lyon, Lucas Edward Dabel, Jameel Paulin, Corey Girard and Calista Lyon.

Calista Lyon is an Australian researcher and visual artist living and working in Columbus, Ohio. Through the mediums of photography, video, ceramics and performance she engages the archive—investigating natureculture narratives and their ecological, scientific and political entanglements. Lyon is interested in revealing the connections between bodies, histories, knowledge and knowing—reimagining forms of storytelling that might serve non-human and human worlds in our contemporary moment of ecological crises.

View more of Calista’s work at


Image credits:
The Unknown and the Unnamed, 2019
Images depicted on overhead projectors by Tobias Hayashi, Phillip Branwhite, Peter Branwhite, Glenn Lyon, Calista Lyon