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Tree Talks (Fall)

Ben Kinsley

Tree Talks: Populus tremuloides is an art project that takes the form of a year-long series of events focused on understanding a single tree through a multitude of perspectives. The inaugural year will focus on Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen), the most widely distributed tree in North America and Colorado’s only widespread, native, deciduous tree. Once per season (summer, fall, winter, spring) over the course of a calendar year, the public will be invited to gather around a grove of Quaking Aspen at Kenosha Pass. The pass is located in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver and is a popular place for visitors to view the aspen leaves change. Each gathering will feature lectures by a group of experts from wide-ranging fields who will share their knowledge of the tree from their respective discipline, including both scientific and cultural perspectives. Each lecture will be recorded and released at the end of the year via a limited edition artist publication and online archive.

Guest Speakers
Mary Jane Sullivan, PhD,  is a poet and documentarian and teaches Film Studies and Sound and Poetry studies at University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She studied with Pauline Oliveros and has a certificate in Deep Listening from The Center For Deep Listening Institute at Rensselaer. She teaches Earth School with children at the Hands on History program  at the El Pueblo Museum, a community museum a part of History Colorado.

Dr. Sara Branco completed her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Chicago as a Fulbright scholar, was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of California, Berkeley and a Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Paris. She has been studying fungi since she was 16 years old and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Currently Dr. Branco is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Integrative Biology at University of Colorado Denver. Dr. Branco studies the ecology and evolution of fungi.

Suzanne Marchetti is the biological technician at the Forest Health Protection office of the Forest Service in Gunnison, Colorado. Since 2008, she has worked in aspen forests. First by doing defining research on sudden aspen decline (SAD) and continuing to follow the decline with long term plots. She works in all forest types in southwest Colorado, tracking bark beetle outbreaks, training folks to identify forest insects and pathogens, studying the impacts of drought on tree species, and mapping future bioclimate suitability for forest species in southwest Colorado.

Listen to the Tree Talks (Fall) lecture series:

Artist Bio
Ben Kinsley’s projects have ranged from choreographing a neighborhood intervention into Google Street View, directing surprise theatrical performances inside the homes of strangers, organizing a paranormal concert series, staging a royal protest, investigating feline utopia, collecting put-down jokes from around the world, and planting a buried treasure in the streets of Mexico City (yet to be found).

He has exhibited internationally at venues such as: Queens Museum, NYC; Cleveland Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Cleveland; Bureau for Open Culture; Mattress Factory Museum, Pittsburgh, and many more. Ben has been an artist-in-residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts; Skaftfell Art Center, Iceland; Askeaton Contemporary Arts, Ireland; and Platform, Finland. His work has been featured on NPR, Associated Press, The Washington Post,,,, and Temporary Art Review, among others.

Kinsley is an Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Visual Art in the Department of Visual & Performing Arts at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He is Co-Founder of The Yard and President of the Pikes Peak Mycological Society.