Mark Cooley is an interdisciplinary artist and educator whose work primarily focuses on social and environmental issues in a variety of forms, including museum installations, documentary film, sound art, and permaculture design. Mark’s work has been screened, exhibited, and performed internationally in venues such as Exit Art, NYC; FADO Performance Art Centre, Toronto; St. Louis Science Center; The World Social Forum, Mumbai; MediaLabMadrid, Spain; Anthology Film Archives, NYC; The Phillips, D.C.; and online at Rhizome.org, Furtherfield.org, and many other locations virtual and real. Cooley’s sporadic writings have been published in various forms including the books, Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses, and Abandoned Lots, edited by Sue Spaid, and Becoming Botanical: a post-modern liber herbalis, edited by Josh Armstrong and Alexandra Lakind.
For over a decade Mark has worked collectively, with his wife Beth and daughter Celia, under various monikers and most recently as SporaStudios, which brings together the arts, permaculture, and herbalism in an integrated approach for the wellbeing of earth, body, and mind. Mark, Beth, and Celia’s collaborative projects have been featured at The Institute of Contemporary Art, London; The International Forest Art Center, Darmstadt and many other locations.
Mark is an Associate Professor in George Mason University’s School of Art, where he teaches media production and theory, and ecological art. In 2010, Cooley founded The Green Studio, a concept for an outdoor eco-art studio meant to connect art, design, science, and engineering students in a living studio/lab space for the creation of eco-focused creative projects. Land was granted in 2010 on the grounds of GMU’s Art and Design Building, and Mark has since directed the project, which has offered hundreds of students from across disciplinary boundaries a conceptual and physical space to creatively explore the interdependence of cultural and natural systems. Exhibitions and publications featuring The Green Studio include: Green Acres: Artists Farming Fields, Greenhouses, and Abandoned Lots, exhibition and book curated and edited by Sue Spaid and Field to Palette: Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene, edited by Alexandra Toland, Jay Stratton Noller, Gerd Wessolek.
Mark is also proprietor of StoveUp llc. producer of the documentary “Fighting Indians” (distributed by The Video Project), which details the successful struggle of Wabanaki tribes of Maine to end the use of racist mascots in the state’s public school system. The film has received accolades from the National Congress of American Indians, Coalition of Natives and Allies, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Suzan Shown Harjo. Film screenings have been hosted by American Indian Film Institute, Morehouse Human Rights Film Festival, Red Nation International Film Festival, Maine International Film Festival, National Congress of American Indians, Coalition of Natives and Allies, and the State of Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations. The film has been acquired by Maine Public Broadcasting, Kanopy streaming service, and a host of school and university libraries across the country including, Duke University, University of Chicago and many others.
Mark is also a musician, who sometimes performs and records under the moniker Gut/Head, and whose collaborations include sound artist Bushmeat, percussionist Stephen Balgooyen, and polymaths Casey Rae and Kit Demos. Mark has performed original compositions for The Society for Electro-Acoustic Music, Sonic Circuits and other music festivals. Mark’s recorded work has been released on Electroshock Records (Russia), Sonic Circuits (DC) and his own Flawdio Records. Mark has also composed and designed sound for films and podcasts. But more than anything, Mark enjoys playing music with his daughter Celia as ThePopcornClub, The Cover Band, or under any number of ridiculous monikers.