Emily Verla Bovino, PhD, is an artist, art historian and writer who works with curation. From 2018 to 2023, she was based in Hong Kong where she was a research fellow in Design and Architecture at the M+ Museum of Visual Culture in 2021 and a Research Grants Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong from 2022 to 2023. She is presently Assistant Professor in the Department of Performing and Fine Arts at the City University of New York, York College, in Jamaica, Queens.
Her research has been published in Museum Anthropology, the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Art Margins and Engramma, and she has written extensively for magazines in print and online, including Architectural Record, Pin Up, Frieze, Mousse, Spike Art Quarterly, Artforum, Art Papers and Ocula, among others. She is presently working on a book manuscript on the concept 'plastic' in art in relation to the 'Plasticene', the idea of describing the most recent period in Earth's history as one in which, not only material plastics, but the concept 'plastic' have significantly impacted the planet's climate, ecosystems, cosmologies (understanding of the universe) and ethico-onto-epistemologies (the intersection of ethics, ways of being and ways of knowing).
Emily was a student-fellow at CARTA from 2014 to 2017 while she conducted doctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego, in Art History, Theory and Criticism with a concentration in Practice in 2017. In her work with CARTA, she explored the concept 'plastic' in genetics, evolutionary biology, the neurosciences and cognitive science in relation to its conceptualization in art history, artist writings, art practice and philosophy. This trans-disciplinary research received a Frontiers of Innovation Scholars Program (FISP) grant for its efforts to address difficult questions about the under-theorized role of embodiment in the study of the symbolic. It focused attention on how changing ideas about interactions among language, gesture and memory, inform representations of the human, non-human and inhuman.
As a FISP awardee and grantee of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA) in Performance Practice and Research, Emily also explored the way narratives of anthropogenesis (anthropos=human; genesis=becoming) change in relation to the specific parts of bodies privileged for conservation as specimens (i.e., the brain), the parts of bodies that survive in afterlife as fossils, and the objects that acquire the identity of artifact, art and tool. As part of her dissertation project, she studied these narratives through durational sculpture, experimental literature, improvisational techniques, verbal performance, movement-research and sound environments which, when combined, generated episodes of RK-LOG, a co-operatively scripted poet's theatre project about a fictional human specimen in near-future worlds that turn alongside but out-of-sync with the future tendencies of present ones. RK-LOG projects often circulate under the anagrams Mobile Irony Valve, Nimble Love Ivory and Inviolably Remove and have been presented with institutions, organizations and artist-run initiatives internationally.