Two young white men smile in front of a blurry background resembling hay. One has wavy brown hair and wears a navy blue shirt and necklace, and the other wears a black turtleneck, red beanie, and a septum piercing.

The Institute of Queer Ecology (IQECO) is an ever-evolving collaborative organism that seeks to bring peripheral solutions to environmental degradation to the forefront of public consciousness. IQECO projects are interdisciplinary but unified and grounded in the theoretical framework of queer ecology, an adaptive practice concerned with interconnectivity, intimacy, and multispecies relationality. The collective works to overturn the destructive human-centric hierarchies by imagining an equitable, multispecies future. IQECO was founded in 2017 by Lee Pivnik while he was studying at the Rhode Island School of Design and is co-directed by artist and evolutionary biologist Nicolas Baird, who joined the project shortly after its inception and has continued to steer its growth and focus. The idea of mimicry lies at the heart of IQECO’s vibrant identity — mimicry as an act of survival, manifested in the behavior of many species and distinctly connected to the history of queer communities. IQECO presents as an institute in an act of mimicry and infiltration, reintegrating queerness into scientific discourse and bringing artists to the table of environmental decision making. To date, IQECO has worked with over 125 different artists to present interdisciplinary programming that oscillates between curating programs and directly producing artworks, presenting projects with the Guggenheim Museum, ICA Miami, Julia Stoschek Collection, Medellín Museum of Modern Art, Prairie, Bas Fisher Invitational, and Gas Gallery.



Photo courtesy the artists

Selected Work

A digital rendering of a violet, spirit-like figure, wearing a lavender jumpsuit and having a cloud of smoke in place of a head, stands amidst a sci-fi environment within a large geodesic dome. Also inside the dome is a large tree, a blue tunnel, and two more figures running across the land.
The Institute of Queer Ecology, H.O.R.I.Z.O.N. (Habitat One: Regenerative Interactive Zone of Nurture), 2021. Video game, infinite duration. Commissioned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

The Institute of Queer Ecology, Metamorphosis (video still), 2020. Video, 45 minutes.

IQECO's film series, Metamorphosis, is presented as episodes that are modeled after the life cycles of holometabolous insects: bugs who undergo a “complete metamorphosis” where the organism fully restructures itself to adapt to its changing needs and ensure its survival. It animates a metaphor for a warm, blurry, queer future, and poetically speculates on how to get there in a long-form video manifesto.

The Institute of Queer Ecology, Common Survival, 2018. Multi-format publication and exhibition. Installation view of 2019 exhibition with Gas Gallery in Los Angeles. Photo by Andy Bennett and Colleen Hargaden, courtesy of Gas Gallery.

Common Survival is a multi-format publication, meaning its contents are untethered and diverse in material. It is essentially a traveling exhibition in a box, made to migrate. It is a collection of "survival strategies" applicable to queer people and other species.