As you sit stuck at home most the time, do you find yourself craving something that mixes ecology, art, design, humanity and the dynamic changes we have experienced related to the global pandemic?

If so, then the UCLA Art Sci Center and Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden have just the virtual event series for you — the ARS Electronica Festival, which will have programs that feature everything from oak genomics and sidewalk herbariums to nature-themed opera and fungal projections. 

Telluric Vibrations will be livestreamed from the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden and the molecular imaging labs underground at the California NanoSystems Institute beginning Sept. 9 and running through Sept. 13. Please note, there will not be any gatherings at the Garden. All talks, performances, and exhibits will be accessible virtually.

Using the model of a plant growing simultaneously upward into the atmosphere and downward into the soil, site specific installations and performances from the UCLA Art Sci collective will be showcased and presented online through live video and augmented reality. Sound art, bio art and immersive installations will be created to interact within the garden and its multiple species and sensory experiences. The garden will not function as a backdrop, but rather as an integrated, collaborative element, as the botanical garden aims to engage people with the broad ways that plants are woven intricately into our lives and bring diverse communities together.

Victoria Sork, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of the gardens, will be giving the opening keynote talk “Tree Conservation, Genomics, and Change” at 7 a.m. on Sept. 9. In her lecture, Sork will discuss her research studying tree populations in California and the eastern United States using genomics, evolutionary biology and conservation biology. She has focused on oaks, studying their local adaptation, the molecular ecology of their pollen, phylogeography of the genetic variation, hybridisation and how climate change will impact them.

You can explore the ARS Electronica Festival, which is being held at campuses across the globe from September 9-13 here.