EDUCATIONBA - Rice University
MFA - California Institute of the Arts
AREAS OF EXPERTISEEcoScenography
Ian Garrett is designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture.
Ian is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University and Graduate Program Director for Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. He is Producer for Mixed Reality Performance collective Toasterlab; and director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts, a think tank on sustainability in arts and culture. He maintains a design practice focused on the integration of ecology, technology and scenography.
Recent work includes I am a Child of… with Keaja d’Dance at the Harbourfront Centre, the exhibition design for World Stage Design 2022 in collaboration with Patrick Rizzotti, and the most recent versions of the locative immersive media projects Parkway Forest Time Machine and STEPS’ From Weeds We Grow both in Toronto Parks. Other XR projects include multiple works with DLT Experience, including: Spectators Odyssey at TO Live, The Right Way at the Venice Biennale and The Stranger 2.0 at the Columbus Centre Toronto. His documentary with Toasterlab, Groundworks, looks at four of the contributing artists to the locative and site-specific performance of the same name presented on Alcatraz on San Francisco’s first Indigenous People’s day with Dancing Earth Creations. It continues to screen at festivals and was broadcast nationally on PBS in the US through October and November 2022.
Notable projects related to EcoScenography include the set and energy systems for Zata Omm’s Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre and Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a solar 150’ wide crane at Coachella. With Chantal Bilodeau, he co-directs the Climate Change Theatre Action. His writing includes Arts, the Environment, and Sustainability for Americans for the Arts; The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production in Readings in Performance and Ecology, and Theatre is No Place for a Plant in Landing Stages from the Ashden Directory. He has been involved with hundreds of theatre productions as a lighting and media designer, having received the 2006 LA Weekly Theater Award for best lighting for Permanent Collection at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and having been the lighting designer for Song of Extinction with Moving Arts, which won the 2008 LA Weekly Theater Award for Production of the Year.
He also works as a producer having worked on the premier of Richard Foreman and Michael Gordon’s What to Wear at REDCAT, the Prague tour for Torry Bend’s puppet adaptation of Aimee Bender’s Loser, two dozen shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe including the physical theater piece on aging and memory At Sundown, and the city-scale geolocated AR project Transmission. He was an associate producer on The Medea Project, a cross-cultural production of Medea in Athens and Los Angeles.
Before coming to York, Ian taught at California Institute of the Arts, and developed curriculum for the University of Houston. He has been a visiting instructor at the National Theatre School where he teaches courses on sustainability in design and production. He previously served as the Executive Director of the Fresh Arts Coalition, an arts service organization focused on awareness and marketing in Houston, TX, and as consultant and staff for the LA Stage Alliance. He has also been on staff at Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston), DiverseWorks Art Space (Houston), and the Will Geer Theatricum Botancium (Topanga, CA), and in the lighting departments of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Public Theatre in New York.
Ian received dual MFAs in Lighting Design and Producing from CalArts, and has a BA in Architectural Studies and Art History from Rice University. He serves on the Board of Directors for Associated Designers of Canada, and the theatre Company the Only Animal. He was the Curator for the US for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial, and the Digital Curator for the US for the 2015 and 2013 editions of the PQ, as well as co-chair and coordinator for EcoScenography for World Stage Design 2022 in Calgary.
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