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Eric Ellingsen

Eric Ellingsen aims to develop collective and individual imaginations through process-oriented work, perception, and action-based research across the fields of landscape architecture, architecture, and art. He founded Species of Space (SOS) in 2009, implementing tools from many different bodies of knowledge to create spatial narratives entangling experimentation and pedagogy as art forms. Through the design of site- and institution-specific works, he advocates for a living-learning agency, which involves growing spatial languages and the ability to translate meanings and values across disciplines. Through the design and choreography of situations, encounters, public art installations, curation, poetry, walks, and performances, Ellingsen seeks to construct alternative ways of perceiving and using public spaces that empower communities and citizens as agents in the design and self-determination of their own spaces, stories, and lives.

From 2009-2014, Ellingsen co-directed and taught at the Institute for Spatial Experiments, a five-year education project started by artist Olafur Eliasson, affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts. During his time there, Ellingsen worked to cultivate new critical spatial modes, methods, and models for teaching and practice. He has served as the assistant director of the Master of Landscape Architecture program and visiting assistant professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Previous teaching appointments include the Mitchell Visiting Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, visiting critic at Cornell University, and lecturer at the University of Toronto.

Ellingsen earned master’s degrees in landscape architecture and architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a master’s degree in classical philosophy from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. Recent and forthcoming publications include Twisted (Broken Dimanche Press, 2017), GAM. 13: Spatial Expeditions (Graz Architecture Press, 2016), Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others (Lars Muller Publishers, 2015), MODELS, 306090 (Princeton Architecture Press, 2008), BOMB online, World Literature Today, and Forty-Five, a journal of outside research.

Ellingsen works and exhibits internationally, including at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Sullivan Galleries in Chicago, and has been involved in a long-term collaboration with Ethiopian poets, musicians, and artists. He received an ARTECITYA artist residency (Thessaloniki, Greece) in 2016, a Library of Water residency in Iceland in 2014, and two Graham Foundation grants to individuals in 2012 and 2014. In 2017, Ellingsen and his partner, Lynn Peemoeller, cofounded LEEPWORKS, an experiential education design practice for urban connections therapy.

Work by Eric Ellingsen

Group of people wearing cylindrical sound pieces as headwear approaching a pink colored house installation at the Contemporary Art Museum

"Toolshed” and Public “Walkshops"

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, summer 2019; Phase 1 of the “Sound of Segregation”; Divided Cities grant, Mellon Foundation. 
Aerial view of three-leveled tiered seating in a cylindrical pattern made of wood

Caring is Acting

Design-build of social infrastructure as parliament of reality; 2013, Institute For Spatial Experimentation; Temporary school in Templehof Airfield part of “The World in not Fair worlds fair”.
A drawing using symbols related to sound stretched over a set distance

Perceving Academy, Cyprus edition, 2018

Two-week long commissioned academy directed by Eric Ellingsen; image of group produced, 3km sound map through the UN Buffer Zone, Nicosia; E.K.E.T.E. and EU.
A series of four pictures taken from a public performance

Perceving Academy, Iceland edition, 2016

Two-week long commissioned academy comprised of graduate students from 9 departments including engineering, art, architecture and humanities. Image from final public performance.
Public art piece making constructions with red tubes on a public plaza.

Perceiving Academy, Thessaloniki edition, 2017

Two-week long public academy in partnership with mayor, municipality, Resilient Cities initiative, ArtBox, Goethe Institute, and Artecitya. Image from final public performance and installation.
Wooden perforated structures arranged around a long rectangular planter in a spherical formation with a pathway through and open overhead

Perceiving Academy, Chicago edition, 2015

Three-month long commissioned installation and public programming. Image of the social infrastructure designed for the academy. 
A collaged drawing of various sketches involving topics of adventure and play in Chicago

Adventure Playground, May-Sep 2016

Design commissioned for the exhibition: 50 Ideas, 50 designers, 50 wards – Chicago Architecture Foundation.