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IAA Advocacy:
Environmental Illness

What is “Environmental Illness?”


Environmental illnesses are clusters of symptoms (nausea, muscle aches, skin disease, etc.) that are attributed to the prevalence of toxins in one’s physical environment, such as water or air pollutants. Millions of people in the United States have gotten sick from these illnesses, and all too often companies and organizations are complicit in the maintenance of low environmental safety standards.


Isn’t The Medical Community Taking Care of It?


Unfortunately, medical organizations often have contradictory notions of environmental illness and inconsistent ways of dealing with it.  Many doctors and policy makers don’t even recognize environmental illness as a diagnosable problem in its own right due to its elusive nature.  Diagnosis of symptoms can often remove causation by glossing over their potential environmental causes (i.e., someone may be diagnosed with “Irritable Bowel Syndrome” even though the symptoms associated with it – like nausea – come from external factors).


How Does The IAA Address It?

The IAA creates juried installations and curates exhibits tailored around making environmental illness into a perceivable, tangible, and actionable issue (for a more detailed example, check out our EMF page). Doing so enables conversations on environmental illness between those who suffer from them, those who study them, and those with the resources to do something about it.

Find out more about the IAA's Environmental Illness Advocacy:

The IAA is proud to have displayed our work at the following galleries and art spaces:

  • Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (Seoul, South Korea)

  • Ely Center of Contemporary Art (New Haven, CT)

  • Tugboat Gallery (Lincoln, NE)

  • Franconia Sculpture Park (Shafer, MN)

  • NE Sculpture Gallery (Minneapolis, MN)

  • Institute on the Environment (Minneapolis, MN)

  • Northern Sparks Arts Festival (Minneapolis, MN)

IAA's Exhibits: Group or Solo Shows (Juried or Invited)

  • Viral Load II.”  Creative Director.  (Public Sculpture by Allison Baker on Environmental Illness.)  Franconia Sculpture Park.  Shafer, MN.  September 2021.

  • Semi-Sentient Trash.”  Creative Director.  (Solo Exhibition by Allison Baker on Illness and  Caregiving.)  Ely Center of Contemporary Art.  New Haven, CT.  June 2021.

  • Unsterile.”  Creative Director.  (Solo Exhibition by Allison Baker on Illness and Caregiving.) Tugboat Gallery.  Lincoln, NE.  February 2020.

  • Cellular Home Invasion.”  Solo Exhibition.  (Installation on Chronic Illness and Technology Health Effects.). With Allison Baker and the Institute for Aesthetic Advocacy.  NE Sculpture Gallery.  Minneapolis, MN.  June 2019.

  • Cellular Home Invasion.”  Solo Museum Exhibition.  (Installation and Performance on Technology Health Effects.)  Czong Institute for Contemporary Art.  Seoul, South Korea.  May 2019.

Dr. McKain Exhibitions, Performances, and Civic Engagement Initiatives (Non-IAA)


  • “dronesTruck: Operation Como.” Curator and Organizer. (International Juried Sound Art Exhibition on Technology Health Effects.)  Saint Paul, MN. May 2016.


  • “dronesTruck: Operation Scarewaves.” Grant Funded Art Installation.  (Public Sound Installation on Technology Health Effects.) Saint Paul, MN.  October 2015.

  • “Endlessly Repeating Endlessly.” Juried Multimedia Performance. With Michael Gallope, Josh Gumiela, Jason McGrath, Matt Sumera, and Travis Workman. Northern Sparks Arts Festival.  Minneapolis, MN. June 2015.

IAA's Publications

  • “The Art of EMF Science: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Post-Digital Health Advocacy.”  Dr. Aaron McKain, Steven Pederson and the Institute for Aesthetic Advocacy.  PostHuman: New Media Art 2020.  CICA Press, 2020

  • “The Art of EMF Science: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Post-Digital Health Advocacy.”  With Steven Pederson and Allison Baker.  Rhetoric of Health And Medicine Conference.  October 2020.

  • “Cellular Home Invasion: Public Art As Rhetorical Intervention in Scientific Debates On EMF Health Effects.”  Rhetoric Society of America.  With Allison Baker and the Institute for Aesthetic Advocacy.  Portland, OR.  May 2020.

  • “Unsound Methods?” Panel and Multimedia Performance, with Cory Holding, Matt Sumera,  Josh Gumiela, and Allison Baker, Rhetoric Society of America, Minneapolis, MN, May 2018

IAA's Environmental Illness Grants

Exhibits, Environmetal Illness
Publications, Environmental Illness
Grants, Environmental Illness
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