Karen Holmberg

2021-2022 *This Is Not A Drill* Faculty Fellow

Karen Holmberg

Karen Holmberg is an archaeologist who specializes in volcanic contexts to examine the long-term experiences humans have had with environments that change unpredictably. She is interested in how the past can aid understanding of the environmental challenges and crises of the 21st century, particularly in the Global South.

Holmberg received her PhD from Columbia University after which she taught at Brown and Stanford Universities. Her doctoral work was funded by Fulbright, Mellon, and Wenner-Gren awards. She is the recipient of awards including a Creating Earth Futures award from the Geohumanities Centre of Royal Holloway University and the Leverhulme Trust, Make Our Planet Great Again award to collaborate with the Laboratoire de Géographie Physique at the Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris, and the This is Not a Drill award through the NYU-Tisch Future Imagination Fund that utilizes public pedagogy to address the intractable social problems of the climate emergency through technology, the arts, and critical thinking.

Some recent science outreach activities include an appearance as a volcano expert on a new Disney+ game show for children that teaches science and critical thinking skills, The Big Fib; an immersive art-science piece, Double-Sided Immersion, at ZKM gallery in Karlsruhe, Germany as part of the ‘Critical Zones’ exhibition (May 2020-January 2022) curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel; and co-directorship of the New York Virtual Volcano Observatory on Governors Island as Earth science outreach. She is the scientific director of the Gallatin WetLab, an experimental initiative for public-facing teaching and a living art-science laboratory. Holmberg currently directs interdisciplinary field projects examining past environmental changes and future volcanic risks on coastlines in Patagonia (Chaitén, Chile) and near Naples, Italy (Campi Flegrei); closer to home, she researches the radically transforming past and future coastlines of New York City.



TINAD Holmberg Patagonia Chaiten

Visualizing….Art-Science of the Future engages with an interdisciplinary ecosystem of art, design, and the sciences in direct conversation with contemporary issues and public pedagogy.  It focuses on practice-based research that grapples with socio-political, anthropo-technical, and environmental issues. Through the framework of a new international journal that will launch in 2022 (.able), this project experiments with original ways of visually conveying research data to larger and more diverse publics. The three visual essays that the project will create are based upon evocative data from a prehistoric rock art cave under a recently erupted volcano in Patagonia, a collaboration with the Navajo Nation of historic Dinė ecologies of relationships, and urban ecology through the lens of thirty years of Hudson River marine science data that will be analyzed for the first time. Through views of varying time spans of the past, the project seeks new ways to visualize the future. In particular, it desires to infuse and renew the sense of wonder those who carefully observe the natural world - through indigenous, scientific, or Other eyes - tend to feel for the geophysical planet.