Tag Archives: Environment

Citizen Sensing in the Smart City

  Within current schemes for green cities, which span from urban wildlife initiatives to city agriculture and green transport networks, citizen sensing and smart cities projects are emerging that attempt to realize improved sustainability through greater urban connectivity. As another layer of infrastructure that enhances the efficiency and timing of cities, digital connectivity presents the […]

Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic

This edited collection explores the material politics of plastics. From food punnets to credit cards, plastic facilitates every part of our daily lives. It has become central to processes of contemporary socio-material living. Universalised and abstracted, it is often treated as the passive object of political deliberations, or a problematic material demanding human management. But […]

Depletion Design

As part of transmediale 2013 BWPWAP, I participated in a panel on the newly published text, Depletion Design: A Glossary of Network Ecologies, edited by Carolin Wiedemann & Soenke Zehle. Fellow contributors Marie-Luise Angerer and David M. Berry discussed aspects of depletion and exhaustion during the panel. My contribution covered the topics of “Natural History” […]

Citizen Sensing and Environmental Practice

This project, “’Citizen Sensing and Environmental Practice: Assessing Participatory Engagements with Environments through Sensor Technologies” (Citizen Sense), is funded by a European Research Council (ERC) starting grant, and led by Principal Investigator Dr Jennifer Gabrys. The project will investigate, through three case studies, the relationship between technologies and practices of environmental sensing and citizen engagement. […]

Plastic and the Work of the Biodegradable

Plastics are material substances often condemned for their inability to biodegrade in the environment. New forms of plastics have been developed with capacities for biodegradability, a material strategy that is meant to remedy the (visible) problem of plastics accumulation. This paper discusses the distinct types of work undertaken by humans and more-than-humans in the material […]

Becoming Urban: Sitework from a Moss-Eye View

Discussing an urban walking event, “Moss-Eye View,” held in the City of London as part of This Is Not A Gateway (TINAG, October 2010), this paper considers the ways in which cities may be understood from the view of more-than-human processes and incorporations. The walk explores how new insights emerge into ways of “becoming urban” […]

A Cosmopolitics of Energy

Numerous creative strategies now exist for materializing energy in order to reduce energy use. In a parallel way, social science research at turns engages with the materialities of energy as a strategy or formation that influences participation in energy use. This paper asks how specific materialities of energy are articulated across these social science and […]

Sensing an Experimental Forest

The use of wireless sensor networks to study environmental phenomena is an increasingly prevalent practice, and ecological applications of sensors have been central to the development of wireless sensor networks that now extend to numerous ‘participatory’ applications. How might environmental sensing projects be understood as giving rise to new practices for sensing environmental processes, and […]

Ecological Observatories: Fluctuating Sites and Sensing Subjects

I presented recent work on citizen sensing and environmental computing as part of the “Sense of Planet: The Arts and Ecology at Earth Magnitude” symposium, an event organized by Jill Bennett and Douglas Kahn at the National Institute for Experimental Arts (NIEA), University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia (25 August 2012). The presentation drew […]

Citizen Science and the Politics of Sensing

“Citizen Science and the Politics of Sensing,” was a presentation I delivered as an invited keynote speaker for “The Citizen Scientist on the Move: Digital Play, Politics and Epistemology,” a co-hosted event held at the University of Utrecht and Waag Society Amsterdam, Netherlands (25-27 June). In this presentation, I focused on creative practice engagements with sensing […]

The Art of Gathering Environmental Data

The 2012 version of Pixelache took place as “Camp Pixelache” from 11-12 May at Arbis in Helsinki. The main theme for the unconference was “Do It With Others” (D.I.W.O), and addresses practices of co-production and collaboration. Some of the speakers for this event include Marc Garrett of Furtherfield, Owen Kelly, and Pedro Soler. The Finnish […]

Bluebottle Flies, Biodegradability and Urban Matter

The trophic ecologies of cities play a distinct role in how urban matter—and particularly urban waste matter—biodegrades. Insects are key participants in eating, breaking down and “recycling” refuse, and at the same time waste sites provide unique ecologies for insects. While first sketching a picture of the some of the distinct insect ecologies that may […]

The Politics and Affect of Environmental Computing

  “The Politics and Affect of Environmental Computing” was a working group that I participated in at the Field_Notes / Cultivating Ground arts and sciences environmental data workshop, hosted by the Finnish Bioart Society and held at the Kilpisjärvi biological station, Finland (26 September – 2 October 2011). During the workshop, I focused on the […]

Digital Rubbish

Digital Rubbish is a study of the material life of information and its devices; of electronic waste in its physical and electronic incarnations; a cultural and material mapping of the spaces where electronics in the form of both hardware and information accumulate, break down, or are stowed away. Electronic waste occurs not just in the […]

Sink: The Dirt of Systems

Sinks are a device within environmental studies that describe spaces and processes that capture and channel wastes. This paper first explores sinks both as a cultural figure of environmental understanding, and as an important technoscientific instrument within current attempts to describe the global carbon cycle in relation to climate change. The movement of wastes to […]

Time Lapses: Robert Smithson’s Mobile Landscapes

In 1970, the artist Robert Smithson proposed a Floating Island to Travel around Manhattan Island. Composed of a tug boat and barge planted with trees and rocks, the small pastoral island would form a displaced geography against the looming skyline of that other urban island. While this project was never realized during Smithson’s lifetime (1938-73), […]

Ephemeral Systems in Silicon Valley

This photo-essay documents fieldwork conducted in Silicon Valley in 2005, which contributed to the book-length study on electronic waste, Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics. Published as “The Quick and the Dirty: Ephemeral Systems in Silicon Valley” in “Ephemera,” Thresholds, Issue No. 31 (Cambridge: MIT Department of Architecture, 2006; ISSN: 1091-711x), 26-31.  

Paper Mountains, Disposable Cities

  Paper, that disposable medium, constitutes the bulk of material found in landfills. This essay investigates the printed matter that turns up in one particular landscape, the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York City. Fieldwork at the landfill was conducted in 2001 while participating in the “Landfill to Landscape” competition with Rios Clementi Hale Studios. […]

Machines Fall Apart: Failure in Art and Technology

Technological failure is often considered to be central to the logic of innovation. Artists working with technology at the inception of widespread post-war automation, including Jean Tinguely and Gustav Metzger, focused particularly on machines geared toward failure. At the same time, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization founded to enable collaboration between artists […]

Leaflet Drop: The Paper Landscapes of War

  This essay investigates the use of leaflets as a tactical weapon of war. The paper was first presented at “Casting Doubt,” a conference held at the University of Rochester, New York, in 2003. The full essay is available to read online at Invisible Culture (2004). This research later developed into a short artist’s book, […]

Please Take the Ticket

“Please Take the Ticket” was a project funded by the Jerome Foundation in association with the Weisman Art Museum for temporary public art on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis. The installation addressed the pervasive and mundane parking lots through which thousands of commuters circulate on a daily basis. The intervention consisted of a […]

The Television in the Garden

  Published in the architectural zine, loud paper, this essay traces the establishment of the Arcadia Arboretum in Los Angeles, and later the filming of the television episode Fantasy Island within the Arboretum in the late seventies and early eighties. Each “fantasy island” begins within the same physical landscape, but is built up through different […]