Artist Statement

For the past 20 years, my professional, academic and artistic work has concentrated on exploring new paradigms for rethinking the values and structure of the 21st century cities. For me, urban agriculture and aquaponics have become tools offering regenerative and ECO-Logical solutions to address both food security and neighborhood stabilization in distressed neighborhoods. The art is strongly rooted in narratives exploring typologies for city transformation and is as much a visual depiction and study of the built environment and societal shifts over time as they are a means of humanizing an otherwise objectified space. Each of the installations of The MYCELIA Project offer examples of collaborative transformations of otherwise 'blighted' 20th century spaces : i.e. a former shoe warehouse transformed into an collaborative learning center, a former empty city block in Englewood transformed into a Community Urban Farm, a foreclosed house transformed into a THINK-DO co-Lab-orative space.


I use art as a means of deeply seeing and connecting across space and time. Photography/film-making/documentation/mixed-media visualizations are as much instruments of observation as they are a means of humanizing otherwise objectified space (i.e. 'zomby' properties).


I am motivated by life (literally), the regenerative principles of ecosystems, the connectivity that life attracts, and the resultant interconnections that evolve from a sustained culture of care.

Why Chicago?

Chicago offers the best of all worlds wrapped in one... Chicago is that global big city meets the small world hyper-local city of neighborhoods. Chicago is constantly borrowing from it's own history desperately trying to reinvent and remake itself in hopes of making sense of an ever shifting paradoxical system of values. Chicago is.. my kind of town.


Emmanuel Pratt is co-founder and Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation and founding member of axilL3C. Emmanuel Pratt earned his BArch from Cornell University, his MSAUD (Masters in Science of Architecture and Urban Design) from Columbia University, and is presently a doctoral candidate in the PhD program of Urban Planning also from Columbia University. He is also the Director of Aquaponics for Chicago State University and teaches courses within the college of Arts and Sciences. While most of his early work was anchored in the field of architecture, Emmanuel's work has since explored the role of art and interactive media as a key component of urban design, urban farming, and sustainability with a particular concentration on the creation of a new paradigms for 21st century city planning