Nico King is a researcher, artist, and landscape designer. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Art History, Theory & Criticism with a concentration in Art Practice at the University of California, San Diego. Her current research focuses on speculative natures, materialism, and landscape as theory of utopia. She examines the ways in which nature and landscape (as Ersatz nature) have been conceptualized through art and design interventions, both historically and in our contemporary moment. Through several case studies, but taking California as its point of departure, her dissertation looks at the way in which the environment is situated on a constantly shifting spectrum between untamed wilderness and mediated fantasy. In the context of the anthropogeny specialization, she is interested in the production of nature and the ecological dimensions of human origins.
King studied landscape design at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), from where she received her degree as Diplom-Ingenieurin in 2012, and at Cornell University. In 2016, she received her Masters of Arts in the Critical Studies program at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna with additional studies at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. King worked as a designer in offices for landscape architecture in Vienna and Berlin. She was a research associate on projects focusing on landscape history of the twentieth century, Jewish women garden architects, and the building of an archive on the history of landscape architecture in Austria at the Institute of Landscape Architecture of BOKU (2012–2015). Among the awards she has received are the Schindler scholarship and residency at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles 2016, the START grant for young architects and designers 2017 by the Austrian Federal Chancellery, and the Tinker Foundation Field Research Grant 2019. She was an editorial trainee and staff member of the urban research magazine dérive. Zeitschrift für Stadtforschung. In 2014, she curated the exhibition The 1964 Vienna International Garden Show—Green Post-War Modernism at the Museum of the City of Vienna. King has published articles in dérive, Stadt + Grün, Garten + Landschaft, and IUAV Giornale dell’Ateneo, and book chapters on post-industrial mining landscapes; the ready-to-plant leisure garden in the cultural industry; memory in the landscape; concepts of wilderness and nature; as well as the return of the political in park design.