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Published on Mar 1, 2013
What can an artist learn from the hard sciences? In this film, artist David Brooks discusses the motivations and broader meanings behind his on-going work as a volunteer with conservation biologists in the Amazon basin region of South America. Long fascinated by birds and fish, Brooks has been doing frequent field work since 2005 with conservation biologist Dr. Nathan Lujan and his research team in Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, studying the evolution of the local armored catfish populations. Working directly in and along rivers, Brooks collects, documents, and preserves the armored catfish for the team. It's a uniquely hands on opportunity to experience the wildly diverse ecosystems of the Amazon region—to "witness evolution itself"—as well as the chance to interact directly with the scientists themselves. For Brooks, the scientists' insistently multi-disciplinary approach—which takes into consideration a complex and intersecting set of geologic, ecologic, cultural, and economic factors—is not just a model for his own artistic practice but a way of creating a more "robust personal worldview." Features artworks from the series "Still Life with Stampede and Guano" (2011) at NADA Miami and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center and the exhibition "Notes on Structure" (2012) at American Contemporary, New York.
"New York Close Up" is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; Toby Devan Lewis; Lambent Foundation; the Dedalus Foundation, Inc.; and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc. Additional support provided by The 1896 Studios & Stages, and by individual contributors.