Complexity is a characteristic of an ecosystem, a system of interactions between the environment and the relationships with its natural and artificial elements. As with any complex system, it has inherent plasticity, and survives based on its ability to respond to continuous change in physical, cultural, and biologic elements. The capacity for transformation within and between complex systems defines the adaptive behaviors that support a stable ecology. Knowledge of the properties that stimulate change in these relationships define what can be referred to as 'eco-plasticity’.

The term eco-plasticity was developed through the art and science collaboration represented by Joel Slayton and Lisa Johanson. The ongoing ambition is to develop a series of land-use and sense-of-place artworks that illuminate the role of eco-plasticity as it relates to an ecology responding to competing forces. By exploring the layered relationships between the natural and artificial challenges, we hope to better understand the destiny of a particular ecology.

Joel Slayton is an artist, researcher, and curator with expertise in using media technology to explore complex systems and networks. He is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State where he founded the CADRE Laboratory for New Media in 1984. Joel Slayton is on the Board of Directors of LEONARDO/International Society for Art, Science and Technology. He was the 2019 Sterling Visiting Scholar in the Department of Chemical and Systems Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Lisa Johanson is a clinical research scientist studying motor control and neural networks that can restore upper limb function to individuals with neurological disorders. Her research focus is restoring neuromuscular control and upper limb function after spinal cord injury by using brain imaging and measures of muscle activation to guide treatment approaches. As a principal investigator at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System she collaborated with core groups of scientists and clinicians to improve the quality of life for veteran patients.

See: The Gila River Project