Associate Professor & Chair of New Media
Ryan is currently involved in a number of collaborative research and art projects focused on the political ecology of the midwest. With Sarah Ross, he co-founded Regional Relationships, a platform for visual art and writing that finds connections across cultural and geographical borders, and challenges common distinctions between urban and rural spaces. He also works with Compass Collaborators, a collective of writers, artists, scholars and activists, on publications, exhibitions, and public events in what they call the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor.
In 2016-2017, Ryan co-led a Humanities Without Walls "Global Midwest" funded project (with UIC's Gallery 400) that culminated in an exhibition and series of events. The exhibition, titled "The Earth Will Not Abide" featured participating artists duskin drum, Brian Holmes, Sarah Lewison, Alejandro Meitin, Claire Pentecost, and Sarah Ross. With Sarah Ross, Ryan produced a multi-faceted documentary project titled "A Great Green Desert" that used video, printed matter, and sculpture to visualize the destructive forces of industrial agriculture in the US Midwest and the interior of Brazil.
Under the name Temporary Travel Office, Ryan has created work and publications that attempt to use tourism as an opportunity for critical public encounters. These encounters include public tours of urban parking lots, speculative proposals for parks and hotels and a series of experimental guidebooks. These works have been presented in various institutional forums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bureau for Open Culture, AREA Chicago, The MAK Center, The Center for Land Use Interpretation and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions.
His writing has appeared in publications such as New Art Examiner, RePublic, ArtUS, Artlink, Rhizome and Furtherfield. He has curated exhibitions for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Turbulence.org, Greenmuseum.org and George Mason University on themes that include the politics of genetic technologies, energy consumption and artistic forays into agriculture.
For the last few years, Ryan has been coordinating Art In These Times, an art venue on Chicago's west side, hosted by In These Times Magazine. It features 2-3 exhibitions per year by artists and organizations working for social justice in the city and at large.
Ryan was born and raised in Florida.
Additional Project Links
Deep Time Chicago
Between the Bottomlands & the World (A documentary-media project about globalization in a small town)
Global Cities, Model Worlds (Exhibition design that asks how World's Fairs and Olympic Games unequitably reshape cities)