Becoming Benthic: An Australian Research Residency

$1,605 of $2,100 goal

Raised by 33 people in 4 months
BECOMING BENTHIC: Laura's Aussie Research Residency

With your help, in April, 2019 I will be attending Bilpin International Ground for Creative Initiatives (BigCi) in Australia, a residency where I will conduct creative research on the imperiled mussels species of the biodiverse Blue Mountains region. At BigCi I will be making a performance and publication project called “Becoming Benthic”,  in which local collaborators and myself will embody vulnerable freshwater mussels through costume and perspective while leading groups of humans along the Nepean River. This interdisciplinary art project aims to expand knowledge of freshwater mussel imperilment in NSW Australia, address ecological threats to freshwater ecosystems, and create a new body of ecological art.

35203150_1544384146439575_r.jpeg(Becoming Benthic performance, August 2018, Philadelphia, PA. Images by Jerome Lee & Jessica Milnitz) 

Why am I obsessed with freshwater mussels? Freshwater mussels are one of the most endangered species of animal in the world. Often overlooked due to there sessile and underwater lives, these indicator species (species which tell us how the environment is doing) are being decimated at an alarming rate. Heavily impacted by dams, sedimentation, and pollution from runoff, these fragile and necessary creatures deserve protection and awareness. At BigCi I will be able to push my work to a global level. I will be able to challenge myself in new and different ways that will have unknowable and important impacts on the mussel work I make in the United States.


My work at BigCi will recount geologic time, indigenous histories of place, and colonialist river fragmentation, pollution, extractivisms, and private and public land seizures. The artwork will propose alternative human relationships to waterways, creating a narrative of interspecies relationships and responsibilities between human and mussel. By focusing on freshwater mussels, I can expand knowledge of a keystone species and recognize what affects the freshwater mussel affects all beings, including humans. “Becoming Benthic” will emphasize practices of empathy in environmentalism as a way to begin reconciliation and remediation with environments. By making a relationship with a being as unlikely as the freshwater mussel we can create wondrous futures

$10 - 4x6" Mussel Print Postcard
$20 - 8x11" Mussel Drawing Print
$35 - Single Mussel Shell cast with 4x6" mussel print
$50 - Double Mussel cast with 4x6" mussel print
$50- 3x2.5" Endangered/Extinct mussel painting
$75 - 9x8" Original Extinct Mussel Drawing
$100 - Original Drawing of your choice!

*All items will ship within a few days of donation until sold out*
All donors will be recognized on my website with the project, as well as in the final publication material. 

IG: @lauracccarlson

mussel drawings/prints

mussel paintings

14x17 drawing details

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Was able to buy my plane ticket for $400 less than expected, bringing the total needed down to 3,985!
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as I save money/receive funds through other means, I will lower the total amount needed. ex. I have $115 through a separate means, and have lowered the total needed from 4500 to 4385.
love laura
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$1,605 of $2,100 goal

Raised by 33 people in 4 months
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Tristan Meek
2 months ago
Keenan Bennett
3 months ago
Bradley Rymph
3 months ago
Rebecca Tennenbaum
3 months ago
Holly Olson
4 months ago
Hudson Gardner
4 months ago
Jacqueline Janz
4 months ago
Kayla Meyer
4 months ago
Jessica Millnitz
4 months ago
Amy Traylor
4 months ago
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