Skip navigation

VAC34: The Infernal Grove


The Infernal Grove Working Group is an interdisciplinary group of humanists, activists, curators, and artists researching drug-taking, addiction, and recovery. We seek to identify and mitigate social conditions that cause harm to some drug users.

Open to New People

Active since: 2022

  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rochester

Collaborative Goals

Our research has been framed by a set of iterative questions:

  • Where did the concept “addiction” come from?
  • Who has it been used against?
  • Who (or what) does it serve?
  • How can we help?

Our methods have included:

  • A social media campaign;
  • A series of public study groups;
  • A screening series featuring work by and about people living with legal, employment, and/or health outcomes of drug use;
  • An immersive video installation; and
  • A documentary film

The Infernal Grove Project is based on the researchers’ lived experience of drug use and the consequent interventions of state and medical establishments, which included both involuntary hospitalization and outpatient rehabilitation. It is made by people with lived experience of drugs, to serve people with lived experience of drugs and those who love and support them by offering the pleasures of reading and critical dialogue to a population where those things can be missing.

Group Organizers

Cary Peppermint (Adams)

Associate Professor of Art, Environment, and Emerging Practices, University of Rochester

Cooper Battersby

Associate Professor, Art Video; Program Coordinator, Syracuse University

Emily Duke

Associate Professor, Art Video; Associate Chair, Recruitment and Tour Coordination, Syracuse University

Leila Nadir

Associate Professor; Program Director Environmental Humanities Program, University of Rochester

Group Members

  • Devon Narine-Singh, Adjunct Professor, Film and Media Art, Syracuse University