Tag Archives: Materiality

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” […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Media in the Dump

  “Media in the Dump” examines the phenomenon of electronic waste through five locations, from sites of manufacture (Silicon Valley) to disposal (China). Not only are digital media not “immaterial,” this essay suggests, but the wastes that they generate circulate through complex material global geographies. This 2006 essay is published through Alphabet City’s special collection, […]

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. […]

The Art of Salvage

  “The Art of Salvage” consists of a series of postcards written, designed and installed at the USED/Goods exhibition held at the Salvation Army, Montreal (November 2004). An essay was developed from the postcards, and included in the catalog documenting the event. Postcard text excerpts: Scan the crammed interior of any thrift store. There’s a […]

Residue in the E.A.T. Archives

  This research report, “Residue in the E.A.T. Archives,” documents work undertaken while I was Researcher in Residence with the Daniel Langlois Foundation Centre for Research and Documentation (2004). The project area, “From Outside Art to E-waste: Translating the Research Environment of E.A.T.,” focused both on the relationships between art, technology and materiality within Experiment […]