I use site-specific mixed media installations to create future myths that explore the potential realities of the Anthropocene. I am interested in futuristic visions of a world without a natural ecosystem, where a synthetic biology governs how people relate and coexist. What role will myth play in this future world and how will the action of myth building take form and evolve? How will a vanishing ecosystem manifest itself in the awareness and scarcity of material use? In a world where the rules of the game are changing so quickly, how can artists respond quickly and nimbly to a shifting planet? I consider myself a futurist and even when I allow my imagination to speculate wildly about the future of humanity, I always seem to return to the potential realities faced by non-human life. Making art on future landscapes, climate change, and artificial habitats can be a loaded political discourse, but I have never approached it as such. I see it as an inherently human issue that impacts all of us personally and I use my installations as a way to connect through these shared experiences.
Rachel Schmidt is an installation artist based in the Washington, DC region. She uses time-based media and installation to explore urbanization and its impact on ecosystems, future landscapes, and the roll that myth plays in our understanding of the environment. Rachel received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore before moving to Warsaw, Poland for a year of artistic research. From 2012-2016 Rachel worked as an Exhibition Coordinator at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum and has been an artist in residence at the Arlington Arts Center, Taipei Artist Village, Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Scotland, Vermont Studio Center, and the Taller Portobelo Norte in Panama. Schmidt has received grants and commissions from the Halcyon House, Foggy Bottom Sculpture Biennial, Mount Vernon Triangle BID, Arlington County Public Arts, and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. She has exhibited throughout the US and Internationally, and has been reviewed in Sculpture Magazine, Washington Post, and numerous other print and online publications.