José Alejandro Rivera (aka Proxemia, he/they) is an artist, designer, researcher, and educator that is guided by plants, and often works with sound, maps, and audiovisual media.
Interested in expanded states of consciousness and the ecologies of listening and place, his practice is expressed through electroacoustic music and experimental soundworks, multichannel installation and performance, sound design for film, location recording, geo-notational mapping, visual and spatial design. Listening beyond sound is a current focus, learning from the wisdom of plants and medicine making, regenerative farming, dreamwork, yoga, and meditation.
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 UFO folklore, ethnobotany, agriculture as resistance, and the shifting environmental crises.
Recent projects and collaborations have been exhibited at 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 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). He has received honors and gracious support from organizations like MIT and School of Architecture + Planning, Cambridge Arts Council, Assets for Artists, and NASA.
From 2015-2020 he has 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).
Most recently 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). He served as a lecturer on sound and media at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Fall, 2019).
José is currently living and working in Mohican Territory (aka sw Vermont, US) at an organic farm, and learning from the more-than-human world every day. His ongoing collaborative project, Here/There Garden︎︎︎ is a diasporic community of beings sharing and growing through plants, food, and ancestral reflections. He recently offered an online course called Becoming Otherwise exploring individual and communal practices in expanded states of consciousness. Learn more here︎︎︎