This book is an unconventional introduction to the topic of conservation, understood in its broadest sense and with an eye toward its greatest significance. The conversations threaded together in What is Conservation? took place over three nights in spring 2022 and accompanied Conserving Active Matter, an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery New York, and the book and web publications of the same name. The photographs in this volume are drawn from that exhibition.

What is Conservation?
includes conversations with MacArthur Fellows: professor of bioengineering, electrical & system engineering, physics and astronomy, neurology, and psychiatry Dani S. Bassett, poet and translator Peter Cole, interdisciplinary artist Jeffrey Gibson, poet Campbell McGrath, professor of computation and behavioral science Sendhil Mullainathan, documentarian Stanley Nelson, author and artist Lauren Redniss, evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro, professor emeritus of astronomy David Spergel, entomologist Marla Spivak, silversmith Ubaldo Vitali, and professor of comparative literature and literary theory Emily Wilson.