Footprint: Building a Dialogue

A collaborative art/science project between swissnex Boston, the University of Zurich (Institute of Evolutionary Biology) and Boston based artist Edward Monovich, Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Event Details


swissnex Boston
420 Broadway, Cambridge , Massachusetts 02138 United States




footprint type in text FINAL2





A history of overhunting has depleted genetic diversity in Alpine Ibex populations. A resultant lack of genetic fitness diminishes this species’ potential to adapt to changing environments. Concomitantly, humans must adapt to self-imposed climatological crises. Alpine glaciers melt at unprecedented rates, observed at close-range by the Ibex, which symbolizes strength, lofty ideals and Switzerland itself.

This project, “Footprint,” for short, is an upcoming art / science collaborative between the University of Zurich (Institute of Evolutionary Biology), Boston-based artist Edward Monovich (Professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design), and swissnex Boston.

Part I of this project is a presentation and discussion, held on September 30, of the Alpine Ibex footprint research by Dr. Lukas Keller, of the University of Zurich. It will conclude with a Q&A session, where the audience will be able to provide Edward with feedback on his planned approach to the design of the resulting art installation. The event will be moderated by Jane Marsching, Professor and Sustainability Fellow at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. 

Part II of this project the installation itself, will exhibit in the U.S. and in Switzerland in 2017/18. It will communicate the intricacies of this cutting edge research with interactive installations that include video, photography, painting, and sculpture.

“Gran Paradiso Range”, Edward Monovich

Footprint Part I | The Program 

6:00 – 6:30 PM: Doors open, registration
6:30 – 6:45 PM: Words of welcome by swissnex Boston and introduction to the topic by the moderator, Jane Marsching, Chair of the MassArt Sustainability Center
6:45 – 7:30 PM: Presentations by Professor Lukas Keller and Professor Edward Monovich
7:30- 8:00 PM: Q&A, Feedback
8:00 – 9:00 PM: Networking Reception and end of Event

This event is free and open to the public and targeted for scientists and students in the field of (evolutionary) biology, ecology, sustainability, genetics, zoologists, as well as for artists, exhibition curators, philanthropists and anyone with an interest in these fields.


Edward Monovich is a Professor at Massachusetts College of Art & Design. He lives and works as an artist in Belmont, Massachusetts. A combined interest in Visual Arts and Biology drive his study of ecology in the Rocky Mountains and the Alps. While in Colorado, Monovich painted and observed Big Horn Sheep and Rocky Mountain Goats (Schneeziegen). Currently Monovich collaborates with Alpine Ibex specialists, investigating new ways to communicate scientific data to the public. His works have directly involved audiences for more than12 years. Interactive Installation Art invites viewers to contribute their own drawings and graffiti, to connect-the-dots, or to play learning games like “pin the tail on the donkey.” Monovich’s first “graffiti collaboration,” was installed at The Drawing Center in New York. From there, collaborative projects have traveled to diverse locations, changed and adapted to new environments. Viewer contributions from varied locations are linked, creating exchange. Monovich received his MFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996 and his BA in Biology from Kalamazoo College in 1992. His works have exhibited in Colombia, England, Belgium, Italy, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Texas, Florida, Colorado and Michigan. He currently teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.

Dr. Lukas Keller is a Professor Biology at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies. His research interests include Evolutionary ecology, population and quantitative genetics, and conservation biology. He originally studied Biology at the Universities of urich and Basel, and received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology at University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA) in 1996. He was a visiting research fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, and has also worked at the University of Glasgow and the Zoological Museum of the University of Zurich.

Jane Marsching, Professor and Sustainability Fellow at MassArt, is a digital media artist. She explores our past, present and future human impact on the environment through interdisciplinary and collaborative practices, including video installations, virtual landscapes, dynamic websites, and data visualizations.  She received her MFA in photography from The School of Visual Arts and a BA from Hampshire College.  Her recent exhibitions include: the ICA Boston; MassMoCA; North Carolina Museum of Art; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA; and Sonoma Museum of Art, CA. She has received grants from Creative Capital, LEF Foundation, Artadia and Artists Resource Trust.

Photo Credit (Banner): “Ancestral Ibex”, Edward Monovich, 2015

See the blog post here.