José Alejandro Rivera (aka Proxemia, he/they) is an artist, composer, land tender, designer, researcher, and educator. He often works with sound, maps, and audiovisual media.
Interested in expanded states of consciousness and the ecologies of listening and place, his practice often expressed through electroacoustic music and experimental soundworks. These pieces are foundational for his explorations across multichannel installation and performance, sound design for film, location recording, geo-notational mapping, visual and spatial design, and podcasts. Listening with and beyond sound is a current focus; learning from the wisdom of plants and medicine making, regenerative farming, dreamwork, meditation, and movement practices like Qigong and yoga.
Another tendril of their ongoing research includes their diasporic identity as it relates to the political and cultural history of Borikén (Puerto Rico). He’s currently working on a transmedia project regarding neurodivergence, UFO lore, radio, ethnobotany, agriculture as resistance, decolonialism, and the shifting environmental crises. This project will be explored as a Radio Art Fellow at Wave Farm︎︎︎ in Fall of 2022, and as part of a Creation Grant funded by the Vermont Art Council (2022).
José is living and working in Mohican Territory (aka sw Vermont, US). His ongoing collaborative project, Here/There Garden︎︎︎ is a diasporic community of beings sharing and growing through plants, seed and skill sharing, recipes and virtual meals, and ancestral reflections. He recently designed and offered an online course called Becoming Otherwise exploring individual and communal practices in expanded states of consciousness. Learn more here︎︎︎
Recent projects and collaborations have been exhibited at Bennington College, the Blackstar Film Festival, National Arts Centre (NAC) Green Rooms, Studios @ MASS MoCA, Venice Architecture Biannual, BIM (Bienal de Imagen en Movimiento), the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (MA), Goethe-Institut Boston, ICA Boston (Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957), MIT’s MediaLab, , Green Building and List Visual Art Center, Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab & The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, The Center for Visual and Performing Arts at UMass Dartmouth, The Aviary Gallery (MA), Washington Street Arts Center (MA), and Le Laboratoire (MA). His sound work has been featured on disquiet.com, textsound.org, and frameworkradio.net, among others. He has received honors and gracious support from organizations like Vermont Arts Council, National Endowment for the Arts, MIT and the School of Architecture + Planning, Cambridge Arts Council, Harvard University, The Createwell Fund, Assets for Artists, Kent State University College of Architecture + Environmental Design, and NASA.
He was featured as a composer in the National Arts Center (NAC) of Canada Green Rooms 2020 Climate Change Summit (Jun. 2020), and was invited to the Studios @ MASS MoCA as an artist-in-residence (Jan. 2020). José served as a lecturer on sound and media at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Fall, 2019).
From 2015-2020, José worked closely with Non-Event, a Boston-based experimental music series, as a live sound engineer and graphic designer. Along with numerous collaborations, his fluid body of work also includes the design and construction of an open-air performance space for a youth dance and drumming group in rural Ghana. He studied art and sound in MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology Program (MSc 2017), and received a BS in Architecture & Environmental Design from Kent State University (2011).