Leave No Trace  

Comparing the Standard Environmental Colors palette developed by the US Bureau of Land Management against the colors found at a beach in Galveston, TX. Photo credit: Erik Schmahl

Installation at Plein Air, MOCA Tucson. Three-channel video includes: Sudan Brown. Redington Pass, Coronado National Forest, digital video, 28:00. Carlsbad Canyon, Unnamed Wash that Flows into the Santa Cruz River, Tucson, AZ 2021/2022, digital video, 17:00. Juniper Green, Bronx Wash, Tucson AZ, 2022, digital video, 17:00. Photo credit: Julius Schlosburg

Installation at Plein Air, MOCA Tucson. Three-channel digital video. On right: Standard Environmental Colors palettes, US BLM publication with acrylic paint. On left: Uniforms in Sudan Brown, Carlsbad Canyon, and Juniper Green, handsewn, dyed and vintage linen/cotton garments. Photo credit: Julius Schlosburg

Installation at Plein Air, MOCA Tucson. US Bureau of Land Management publications, acrylic paint. Photo credit: Julius Schlosburg

Installation at Plein Air, MOCA Tucson. Uniforms in Sudan Brown, Carlsbad Canyon, and Juniper Green, handsewn, dyed and vintage linen/cotton garments. Photo credit: Julius Schlosburg 

On view at MOCA Tucson as part of Plein Air , curated by Aurora Tang, May 14, 2022 - February 5, 2023.
Opening reception: May 13, 2022, 6–9pm
Public talk: May 14, 2022, 12–1pm
Review by Hyperallergic: ‘Plein Air Is a Sobering Reminder of Human Impact on the Environment’  

Leave No Trace involves the artist’s ongoing research into the US Bureau of Land Management’s Standard Environmental Color chart, a palette of nine standardized paint colors approved for use on the federal agency’s facilities, along with their guidelines on selecting the appropriate color to paint a structure in order for it to best blend into various landscape settings. Centered around a series of new video works, Battin considers the ways in which paint can be used as a tool for concealing human impact on the physical land, while also posing questions around the effects of the artist’s own presence onsite.
—Aurora Tang

Plein Air is a group exhibition that explores shifting ideas of western landscape, painting, and fieldwork. Plein Air includes work by Susanna Battin, Esteban Cabeza de Baca, iris yirei hu, KB Jones, Hillary Mushkin (Incendiary Traces), Sterling Wells, and Paula Wilson.


Nine Colors of the West

Juniper Green, Shale Green, Beetle. Red Rock Secret Wilderness, Coconino National Forest, AZ. Panel Test Site 2. May 2020.

Carob Brown. Red Rock Secret Wilderness, Coconino National Forest, AZ. Panel Test Site 2. May 2020.

Shale Green. West Clear Creek Wilderness Area, Coconino National Forest, AZ. Panel Test Site 1. May 2020.

Carob Brown. West Clear Creek Wilderness Area, Coconino National Forest, AZ. Panel Test Site 1. May 2020.



Colored pencil on paper, 2022.

Wings of United Sonora is an animal-led labor union dedicated to direct action, workplace democracy, and environmental justice. Founded by members of the Corvus genus, the group is the first labor union of its type, and includes working crows, ravens, rooks, and their relatives. Wings' growing membership extends beyond the Sonoran region, as environmental working conditions worsen and Corvus labor becomes more lucrative to human employers.

Most commonly employed as janitors or clean-up technicians, Corvus take special pride in their meticulous attention to detail and cleanliness. The weekly river clean-up is an extension of this interest and furthers the union’s goal of achieving environmental justice for all living species.

The flyer (below) is both an invitation to initiate your own river clean-up, and an artifact of this time, when understandings of labor, environment, nature, and culture are no longer separable. The flyer was designed in the media lab at the Pima County Public Library by Wings' local chair who identifies as a Common Raven (Corvus corax). She extends her thanks to the Tucson librarians who, for the first time, permitted computer and printer usage to a non-human patron.

Wings is proud to present their mission and graphics in the recent publication: In, From & With: Exploring Collaborative Survival, edited by Grace Denis and published by Circadian, Summer 2021


Flyer found near the Santa Cruz River, digital scan, Tucson, AZ, 2020.


It’s Not Easy Seeing Green
Turning Point Elementary, 2017-2018

2:00 min excerpt from 36:26 minute film. Digital video from scanned 35mm color negatives, classroom and field recordings, 2017- 2018.

In 2017-2018 I worked as an artist in residence at Turning Point Elementary to connect students to Los Angeles’ last remaining wetland using poetry and photography. This was an ambitious project because it involved 300 students, two non-profits, four field trips, and two final art installations that synthesized video, 35mm photography, surrealist poetry, audio recordings, plant material, handmade books, and botanical rubbings. The final video collects the voices and photographs of students into a single-channel poem about Los Angeles's Ballona wetland.

In my workshops, students in grades 2-8 practiced the punk/surrealist poetry form of making ‘cut-ups’ about Ballona. Xeroxed wetland words were cut up and reassembled by students working in small groups. The poems click like nonlinear legos—stuck to the insides of eight-page accordion books with glue. Their young voices animate old words in new stories about Ballona's ecology, history, and future:

Come here exotic coyote, more salt bushes let out wind.

It’s up crane go same to food-chain.

After lost European settlers.

Sea-level rise. Rough grass. Always close to Culver City.

Sanctuary, if you go under growing milkvetch.

Red-fox dragonfly, who within space?

We brought these poems into the wetland where the Ballona watershed becomes a brackish confluence of past and present, fresh water and salt water, pickleweed and egrets, high-rise condos and parking lots. Here students used their poems like storyboards, shooting 35mm photographs to represent each page of their eight page poem.

Wetland 35mm prints, poetry books and audio by grade levels 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Made with the support of the Turning Point visiting artist in residence program and Friends of the Ballona Wetlands.

How to View a Landfill

In 2017 I began asking groups of people to draw as I read aloud. I read them the scenic descriptions from an environmental impact report of Los Angeles’s largest landfill. Participants listened to the descriptions and with markers and paper in hand, drew the landscapes that came into their minds.

The drawings featured in ‘How to View a Landfill’ were made by the students of the Los Feliz Charter School for the Arts over the course of many studio visits during my residency there in 2018. They are depictions of two key observation points looking towards the landfill from the rural canyon north of the city.

‘How to View a Landfill’, artist book, edition of 60, printed by Super Hit Press and Los Angeles Contemporary Archive, 2019 https://lacarchive.com/item/how-view-landfill

To order a copy, write: info [at] susbatt [dot] com