Artist Carla Bengtson collaborates with scientists on projects by, for, and with other species. These interdisciplinary projects, situated in wild, domestic, and liminal spaces, speculate on what might be seen and what might be said between species, while revealing how differing bodies and environments shape what we are able to think, do, and say. Recent projects in the Amazon include inviting bees to interact with videos of themselves, creating reproductions of the perfumes male orchid bees use to attract mates, and attempting to teach monkeys to point at snakes, the precursor to human language. US-based projects include learning the embodied language of fence lizards, using drumming to communicate with woodpeckers, and partnering with crows to give nonhuman animals a voice in climate change politics.
Bengtson is an internationally exhibiting artist and the recipient of numerous awards, including awards from the Ford Family Foundation, the Oregon Arts Commission, an NEA Individual Grant to Artists, and an OAC Integrative Sciences Award. She has held residencies at Djerassi, Ucross, Mass MoCA, the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon, and a Signal Fire Outpost Residency at the Arizona/Mexico border. Exhibitions include the Queens Museum, NY, the Portland Museum, Portland, Gridspace, NY, POP, Queensland, Australia, RKL Gallery, NY; the Painting Center, NY; and the Holter Museum of Art, Helena, MT. In addition to her art practice, Bengtson has lectured on environmental thought at International Environmental Philosophy and Biodiversity Conservation Conferences in the US, Canada, and South America. She holds a BFA from Tyler School of Art, an MFA from Yale School of Art, and was a participant in the Whitney Independent Study Program.