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EASP Grad Exhibition: Search Party

Search Party
Fri, Apr 19, 2024, 5:00 pm to Sun, May 19, 2024, 7:00 pm

UC Santa Cruz Environmental Art and Social Practice (EASP) Master of Fine Arts Program Presents
Search Party
The culminating exhibition for the UCSC 2024 EASP MFA cohort

April 19 – May 19, 2024
Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery, UC Santa Cruz
1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064

FREE and open to the public

More information:

Search Party

(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) March 20, 2024 – Search Party is the culminating exhibition of the Environmental Art and Social Practice (EASP) MFA program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Seven artists – Génesis de las Olas, Jingtian Zong, Kevin Corcoran, Lee Chang Ming, Leslie Horwitz, Raty Syka, and Shane Scopatz – present new projects developed through concentrated inquiry over a two-year period. Search Party is curated by Yolande Harris in collaboration with the artists of the EASP 2024 cohort. 

Search Party offers a window into seven artists’ unique long-term research projects that expand beyond the gallery space. In the form of image, sound, movement, and intervention, their works collectively examine the fragile and flawed conditions of our time and search for alternative possibilities. In this party, social and environmental contexts tangle up, weave together, and run parallel. Together unexpected affinities emerge.

The works further already-dissolving boundaries between worlds and imagine: the frog that swallows its new world whole asks for guidance; the residents of Cancer Alley experience the salvation of volcanic destruction; an online feminist community writes of a future upon its erased past; landfill leaves traces as it slides into the ocean; a jungle provides a queer space for getting lost in service of finding a new orientation; white ethno-fascist speech gets marked for its innate distortions; and goats and sheep swallow wildfires before they spark.

Search Party Events

A Worried Song Dance Performance 

April 25, May 2 & 9 - 5:30-6:30pm
Sesnon Faculty Gallery

A Worried Song is a choreographed essay that collages movement, improvisation, quoted text, personal narrative, and poetry to investigate how Jewish People are used in ecological politics. As the creator and sole performer, Shane Scopatz invites audiences to think with him about how antisemitism functions in society and serves as an entry point for a deeply needed conversation.

About the Artists

Jingtian Zong is an artist-researcher who roams the wormholes of technology, memory, censorship, and invisible bodies through a diasporic feminist perspective. Her artistic and academic work has been presented globally in Shanghai, Hong Kong, California, Pittsburg, Marvão, and Basel.

Jingtian graduated from NYU Shanghai with a BS in Interactive Media Arts (IMA) in 2019, reflecting on interactivity and queer representation. Awarded an IMA fellowship, she stayed in Shanghai for three years, during which she recalled erased faces in socialist China, played on unoccupied post-pandemic streets, gathered signs of micropolitics in local neighborhoods, and bantered with academic red tape.

In the summer of 2022, Jingtian relocated to California for her MFA studies in Environmental Art and Social Practice (EASP) at UC Santa Cruz. 

Jingtian’s most recent work focuses on alternative cyberfeminist imaginations. Combining artistic research, writing, and pedagogical practice, she questions how cyborgs and glitches would survive a tightened cyber-ecology, inviting awareness and workarounds on censorship-induced data loss for a sustainable feminist future.

Genesis Crespo, who uses the artist name Génesis de Las Olas (of The Waves) is an artist whose core practice is Drawing which extends into printmaking and large-scale installations. Her working life after her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art involved grocery co-ops, commercial bread baking and recently green infrastructure for stormwater.  The result has led to her creative practice of engaging in systems of food, land, and freshwater justice.  Throughout years of traveling and odd jobs, her tri-coastal queer community has been the primary community she reflects and serves with her work.  Especially her ties to the queer land project IDA in Middle Tennessee and the punk underground queer life of New Orleans.  

During her MFA from UCSC’s Environmental Art and Social Practice she homed in environmental study and folklore of Wetlands and Freshwater systems. By incorporating the values of queer radical culture, her imagery reflects restoration, direct action, and collective reclamation. 

Kevin Corcoran works with sound as it moves through contexts of music, art, communication, and place. With a practice combining percussion and field recording, he improvises, composes, and collaborates across disciplines. 

As a percussionist he focuses on techniques which emphasize texture, sympathetic vibration, sustained tones, and the use of found objects. Freely arranging events in duration takes precedence over marking time by rhythm, while improvisation is crucial to his practice as generative method and non-hierarchical exchange of ideas.

Through field recording he engages site-specific work by noticing and interacting with places and objects. Walking and listening while following land use interests in urban excess, boundaries, toxicity, decay, and remediation, he is drawn to relations between built features, open space, and weather, where intentional and incidental landscapes emerge and change.

Originally from Sacramento, California he lives in San Francisco, holds a BA in technocultural studies from UC Davis, and is currently pursuing an MFA in environmental art and social practice at UC Santa Cruz. He performs in the US, Mexico, Europe and East Asia, publishes internationally on small imprints, and makes gallery exhibitions for mixed media.  

Shane Scopatz (he/him) is a dancer, choreographer, writer, educator, organizer, researcher, father, partner, son, brother, friend, baker, gardener, hiker, backpacker, canoer, podcast listener, reader, and probably a few other things. He grew up dancing in California. Shane started because he walked on my toes as a child. In 2011, he graduated from the University of Califonia, Irvine with a BFA in Dance. He spent most of my professional performance career in Tel Aviv, Israel, dancing for the Batsheva Dance Company and the Inbal Dance Theater Company and freelancing. Shane's drive to choreograph environmentally-themed works inspired him to move to the remote desert of the Colorado Plateau, 'canyon country.' From the depths of Death Hallow, a remote Wingate Sandstone canyon, academia called his name once again. Shane moved to Corvallis, Oregon, where he received an MA in Environmental Arts and Humanities at Oregon State University. Shane now lives in Santa Cruz and enjoys growing alongside the redwoods, oaks, and other human and more-than-human beings. There, Shane dives deeper into his creative practice as an MFA student in UCSC's Environmental Art and Social Practice program. Shane expects to move again someday, and when he does, he plans to keep dancing, choreographing, writing, educating, organizing, researching, etc., to bring about a world of social and ecological flourishing.

Raty (sounds like Katie, short for Rachel) Syka (they/them/she/her) is an illustrator, comic artist, and printmaker based in Santa Cruz, CA. A variety of vocational and educational experiences have informed her career path and artistic practice. As an undergraduate, Raty studied sociocultural anthropology at the University of Virginia, with a focus on contemporary Americanist anthropology, embodied knowledge, and utopian social movements centered around craft and handmade material culture. As a young person, she was a member of the Virginia State 4-H Horse Program, and continues to be inspired by the pedagogical orientation of learning by doing and a connection to commercial agriculture. In 2011, she studied natural process vegetable production with Bob Cannard, a close partner of Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse, through the Green String Farm internship program in Petaluma, CA. From 2013 until 2016, she worked at Three Stone Hearth Community-Supported Kitchen in Berkeley, where she served as a cooperative worker-owner and helped build a model for neighborhood-scale prepared food processing. In 2019, Raty completed a Master’s degree in Folklore at UC Berkeley, where she completed an ethnographic research project about raw milk herdshares in Northern California. Based on this research, Raty wrote and illustrated two comic zines that extended the project into a visual form that could reach different audiences than her academic writing. As a candidate in UC Santa Cruz’s Environmental Art & Social Practice Program, Raty has been interested in creating visual media that conveys issues at the heart of agriculture and sustainability in surprising ways. She believes in the power of these alternative media to draw in a broad audience, engage people with various kinds of knowledge about many subjects, and build collective support for beneficial climate initiatives that can be shared by truly diverse community collectives toward a more secure shared future.

Leslie Horwitz is a traveler on an odyssey through the intersecting realms of our climate crisis, from policy, to technology, to land-regeneration. Her past experience includes advising presidential candidates, launching climate start-ups, and getting her hands dirty with land projects across Northern California and Southern Oregon. 

Drawing on these experiences, her artistic practice works to engage unlikely alliances and germinate new seeds out of narratives of damnation. 

From composting toilets to gaping bullfrogs, her work asks: how can we build new worlds from the shit we have created? How can we engage with alien species to co-create a new alien culture?

Leslie is especially interested in building bridges between the arts and emerging technologies, creating pathways to playfully and viscerally ask questions about the types of worlds we are enacting.

Lee Chang Ming is an artist from Singapore working across photography, publishing, video, writing, and printmaking, and is interested in themes of embodiment, environment, and the everyday. His practice contemplates the subjective act of looking and the photographic medium as a process, exploring ideas of optics and haptics. 

Often led by a curiosity for things on the margins, he has worked on projects that visualize various themes including: growing up queer in Singapore, the relationship between religion and state, the historical erasure of migrant workers, nature as hyperreal in parks, and failed coastal infrastructure. His other projects lean more toward a nondiscursive, poetic, and experimental direction, wading into ideas such as tenderness and touch, the restlessness of youth, materiality and mortality, and learning to let go.

He runs Nope Fun, an independent publisher focusing on photography and contemporary image-making. He is currently an MFA student in the Environmental Art & Social Practice program at UCSC.

About the Environmental Art and Social Practice  MFA program
This unique, two-year, residential program seeks prospective applicants who want to develop their artwork in relation to social and environmental justice questions, contexts and communities. Headed by internationally-recognized artists and including affiliate faculty from across campus, the program integrates the resources of a great public university with the Art Department’s mission of educating and training students in cross-disciplinary, multimedia art practices.

About Yolande Harris
Yolande Harris teaches in Music, Art and Digital Arts and New Media at UC Santa Cruz. A composer, sound and video artist, her international artistic practice focuses on the transformative potential of sound and listening in times of environmental change. Her art/science research considers technologically extended ocean environments, sound and human induced disruption, imagining how entanglements with technology and ocean (animal) cultures, approached through a sonic sensibility, may help us re-orient perspectives to the environment. 

About the UC Santa Cruz Arts Division

Led by Dean Celine Parreñas Shimizu, the Arts Division at UC Santa Cruz offers both creative and critical studies of art and culture at the undergraduate and graduate level. The division is committed to building its students' capacity for creative and critical thinking. Instruction in the arts inspires and develops the skills needed for individual and collaborative creative thought, analysis, and action within and beyond the university. The faculty consists of artists, performers, historians, critics, makers and theorists working across the arts in a global context. For more information, please visit