gallery@calit2 Exhibition: An Ecosystem of Excess

Artist Pinar Yoldas


Date: 2017-02-02
Time: 5p Talk 6p Reception
Location: Calit2 Auditorium Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego

Guest Speaker: Pinar Yoldas (Artist), An Ecosystem of Excess
Jules Jaffe, SIO and Jessica Block, QI (Panelists) and Ricardo Dominguez (Moderator)

Host: Visual Arts Prof. Ricardo Dominguez, Gallery Chair


The opening reception and talk by artist Pinar Yoldas will be followed by a panel discussion and opening of "An Ecosystem of Excess", the Winter 2017 exhibition in the gallery@calit2, which runs from Feb. 2 through March 17, 2017.

[Note to readers: Prior to the beginning of the artist talk by Pinar Yoldas, the audience will get a sneak peek at Trish Stone's video ARQIVE culture -- produced and projected in 8K (double the resolution of 4K Ultra-High Resolution and eight times the resolution of HD video). The work is a sampling of all the exhibitions and events the gallery@calit2 has ever hosted, curated along the themes of culture, energy, health, and the environment. The 3-minute film will also serve as a demo of the Calit2 Auditorium's new 8K projector.]

Visitors and the public at large are invited to attend the opening reception on February 2 for “An Ecosystem of Excess”, the latest exhibition on display in the gallery@calit2 on the University of California San Diego campus. The gallery, located at the entrance to Atkinson Hall, the headquarters of Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, will treat visitors to a mind-expanding yet dystopic art show that asks a simple question: If life started today in our plastic debris-filled oceans, what kinds of life forms would emerge out of the contemporary primordial ooze?

gallery@calit2 Exhibition: An Ecosystem of Excess
February 2 – March 17, 2017
Gallery Hours: Weekdays 12 noon to 5pm

Gallery Opening: An Ecosystem of Excess
Artist Talk by Pinar Yoldas, hosted by Gallery Chair Ricardo Dominguez
Date: Thursday, February 2, 2017
Time: 5:00pm Artist Talk (Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall)
           5:30pm Panel Discussion, with Pinar Yoldas, Ricardo Dominguez (moderator), Jules Jaffe and  Jessica Block (Calit2 Auditorium)
           6:00pm Opening Reception (Pre-Function Area and gallery@calit2, Atkinson Hall)

Admission and all activities are open to the public and free of charge.

With An Ecosystem of Excess – which runs from February 2 through March 17, 2017 -- artist Pinar Yoldas answers her own question with displays of speculative life forms, including pelagic insects, marine reptiles, fish and birds endowed with organs to sense and metabolize plastics, and much more. They represent “a new Linnean order of post-human life forms,” says Yoldas.

Inspired by the groundbreaking fi­ndings of new bacteria that burrow into pelagic plastics, An Ecosystem of Excess envisions life forms of greater complexity that can thrive in man-made extreme environments – life forms that can “turn the toxic surplus of our capitalistic desire into eggs, vibrations, and joy,” observes Yoldas, who completed her Ph.D. in Media Arts and Sciences from Duke University in 2016.  “Starting from excessive anthropocentrism, my work aims for anthropo-de-centrism by offering life minus mankind.” In 2008 Yoldas earned an MFA in New Media Art from UCLA (working in the Art|Sci Center and the UCLA Game Lab).

The artist’s work on speculative life forms draws on the biological sciences and digital technologies through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video and drawing, with a focus on post-humanism, eco-nihilism, anthropocene as well as feminist technoscience.

Yoldas says the inspiration for her speculative biologies came from scientific and news reports about the Great Paci­fic Garbage Patch (originally dubbed a ‘trash vortex’ by sailor and environmental crusader Capt. Charles Moore after he encountered the rampant Pacific Ocean pollution in 1997). Covering between 700,000 and 15 million square kilometers, the site is a monument to plastic waste on a global scale after many years of unsustainable consumption around the Pacific Rim.

The Turkish-born, U.S.-based artist cites explorer and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, who called Earth a misnomer because the planet should really be called the Ocean. “After all,” explains Yoldas, “oceans are the life-support system of our planet as well as its salty wombs. The ancient ocean, the primordial soup, gave birth to the very fi­rst organic molecules and was brimming with prehistoric living organisms. That was four billion years ago. Today the composition of oceans is undergoing a dramatic change in which synthetic molecules are taking over. Anthropogenic waste has ­filled our oceans in less than two decades.”

Pinar Yoldas considers herself an ‘infradisciplinary’ designer/artist/researcher (infra as in ‘infrared’, she explains, where light goes beyond spectrum that is visible to the naked eye). The artist received a European Union-funded Future and Emerging Art and Technologies (FEAT) Award in 2016 to work with European scientists on novel technologies to convert carbon dioxide into something useful.  In 2015, Yoldas received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts.

In addition to her Ph.D. and MFA degrees from Duke and UCLA, respectively, Yoldas received an M.S. in Internet Technologies from Istanbul Technical University (2006), and an M.A. in Visual Communication Design from Istanbul Bilgi University (2004). Earlier, she completed her undergraduate degree in Architecture at Middle East Technical University in Ankara (2002).

Yoldas published “An Ecosystem of Excess” (Argobooks) in 2014 to coincide with the work’s first gallery exhibition at the Ernst Schering Project Space in Berlin the same year.

For more information about the gallery@calit2, contact Trish Stone at and visit the gallery online at  Media contact: Doug Ramsey at



Pinar Yoldas (Artist) is a Turkish cross-disciplinary artist/researcher based in Durham, North Carolina. Her work develops within biological sciences through architectural installations, kinetic sculpture, sound, video and drawing with a focus on anthropocene and feminist technoscience. Her solo shows include “The Warm, the Cool and the Cat”, Roda Sten Konstall (Sweden) and “An Ecosystem of Excess”, Ernst Schering Project Space, Berlin (2014). Her group shows include ThingWorld, NAMOC National Art Museum of Beijing (2014); Transmediale Festival, Berlin (2014); Polytech Museum, Moscow (2015), ExoEvolution at ZKM (2015), the 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015) and Taiwan National Museum of Fine Arts (2016). Yoldas has been an invited speaker at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Northwestern University, Angewandte Kunst, University of Michigan, Columbia University, University of Arizona, Reed College, University of Buffalo, Penn State and UCLA among many others. She is a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in the Fine Arts and a 2016 Future Emerging Arts and Technologies (FEAT) Award recipient. She holds a bronze medal in organic chemistry in Turkey’s national science olympics and had her first solo painting exhibition at age five.


Pinar Yoldas (Artist)  (see bio above)

Ricardo Dominguez (Moderator) is an Associate Professor of Visual Arts at UC San Diego, and chair of the gallery@calit2 Gallery Committee for 2016-2017. Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), a group that developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998. His recent Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab project ( with Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand, the Transborder Immigrant Tool (a GPS cell phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/US border) was the winner of “Transnational Communities Award” (2008), an award funded by Cultural Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–US and handed out by the US Embassy in Mexico. It also was funded by Calit2 and the UCSD Center for the Humanities. The Transborder Immigrant Tool has been exhibited at the 2010 California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), The Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), ZKM, Germany (2013), as well as a number of other national and international venues. The project was also under investigation by the US Congress in 2009-2010 and was reviewed by Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S. border with its poetry. Dominguez is an associate professor at the University of California, San Diego, in the Visual Arts Department, a Hellman Fellow, and Principal/Principle Investigator at CALIT2 and the Performative Nano-Robotics Lab at SME, UCSD. He also is co-founder of *particle group*, whose art project about nano-toxicology entitled *Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market* has been presented at the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2007), the San Diego Museum of Art (2008), Oi Futuro, Brazil (2008), CAL NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (2009), Medialab-Prado, Madrid (2009), E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, Spain (2009), Nanosférica, NYU (2010), and SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico (2012). 

Jessica Block is the lead coordinator of the Big Pixel Initiative at UC San Diego’s Qualcomm Institute. She studies the dynamic relationship between urban and wildland environments with expertise in wildfire hazards, water resource management, and tectonics. She holds a BS from UCLA and an MS from Arizona State University in Geology and Urban Ecology.

Jules Jaffe is a Research Oceanographer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of UC San Diego. His research interests are broadly concerned with the use of new technology for observing oceanic phenomena and the development of inverse techniques for their interpretation. His research has focused primarily on ocean ecology; he has also worked in biomedical applications. In the realm of ocean ecology, several acoustic systems invented by Jaffe resulted in the first ever behavioral observations of zooplankton in situ. In addition, the small-scale distribution of phytoplankton, as mapped via an autonomously deployed imaging fluorometer, have provided unprecedented views of oceanic biota.  A new generation of miniature, sensor-equipped drifters that can acoustically network is also being considered in order to gain insights into coastal circulation and larval transport.  Most recently, Jaffe is developing underwater microscopes for in-situ characterization of micro and macro plankton. Jaffe earned his Ph.D. in biophysics from UC Berkeley. In 1984 he joined the science staff at Woods Holde Oceanographic Institution, then moved to SIO in 1988 as a research scientist in the Marine Physical Lab. He lectures widely to public audiences on in-situ methods and his prior involvement with the finding of the Titanic in 1985.


Admission and all activities are open to the public and free of charge.