urban extremophile

in collaboration with speculative designer, lisa ma, the lct is working on a long-term design project that engages with climate futures in vulnerable urban centers. the site for the first iteration of the project is phoenix, arizona, which is consistently ranked one of the most unsustainable cities in the world. rather than investigating how we sustain this urban center, we’re interested the sustainability of human and nonhuman life under conditions of urban decay in the desert. to do so, we envision scenarios that would lead to phoenix’s degeneration under climate change and then experiment with the kinds of practices, values, and resources that would emerge in the midst of these forms of urban decay. these are very often modes of living and organizing that have little political and economic value today (e.g., pre-industrial cooling technologies, resource sharing among the homeless and indigenous populations, nomadism), and are even bio-politically excluded, but experience a new life under the trauma of urban collapse

moving forward, researches will conduct similar work in other domestic and foreign cities that are vulnerable to urban collapse due to climate change. we have already begun work in new orleans, and will be expanding the scope of the project to include major urban centers such as miami, zhanjiang, and jakarta. the project uses design research to bring these under-valued practices and modes of life to the surface in an effort to stage the conditions for radically different forms of thought and action about what climate preparedness means to vulnerable urban centers.


principle researchers: adam nocek and lisa ma

associate researchers: charis elliott, gabby isaac, garrett johnson, ron broglio

upcoming events: workshop, november 17-18.  

episodic exposures

the laboratory for critical technics in collaboration with paul harris and richard turner present, time/shores, a multi-media installation that invites participants to contemplate the interactions of the geological and human histories of the desert southwest. incorporating sculpture, video and interactive audio elements, time/shores invokes the underwater past and future of the desert, referencing the cyclical rhythms of anthropocene timescales that entangle planetary processes and human interventions.

the point of departure for time/shores is an imagined real estate presentation for citizens speculating on tracts of desert land that will one day be beachfront property. the installation incites critical reflection on humanity’s role in shaping this subaquain future, where distinctions between deep past and future “timeshares” are effaced in a murky zone both ancient and prescient.



principle researchers: adam nocek, paul harris, ron broglio, richard turner

associate researchers: gabby isaac, charis elliott

upcoming event: exhibition asu art museum, spring 2017


dwelling in the 21st century


based upon the successful model of trout fishing in america and other stories (exhibition at asu art museum 2014) with artists bryndis snaebjornsdottir and mark wilson and the publication of the exhibition you must carry me now: the cultural life of endangered species, the goal of “dwelling in the 21st century” is to build on this success with another research-based project with internationally recognized artists exploring issues of sustainability specific to the southwest. In trout fishing, the artists collaborated with asu faculty and students, field biologists, and community wildlife groups to produce an exhibition, symposium and publication.


the project will take place over the course of two to three years, depending upon the scale of the project and participants’ schedules. it will enable ongoing exploration across the disciplines, a recognized focus at asu. most importantly it will be a contribution to the larger dialogs across disciplines on specific issues and sites of sustainability. the artist and other collaborators will utilize the asu art museum's residency program to deeply embed their work into the culture and research of asu and the phoenix community.


principle researcher: ron broglio

geomedia research network


the geomedia research network (gmrn) brings together a vibrant cast of scholars and practitioners from across north america, europe, and australia to engage in the varied and complex entanglements of media and geological materials. with the discourse of the “immateriality” of media thankfully fading and it becoming clearer that media have a materiality (geophysical, infrastructural, etc.) that significantly impacts life on earth, there is an urgent need to situate media and mediation in terms of its earthly materials and practices. the gmrn brings together a wide ensemble of voices from across academic and non-academic specialties to engage this urgency in a variety of contexts: academic presentation, artistic experimentation, curated exhibitions, socially engaged design practice, and publication.


principle researchers: adam nocek and patricia pisters (amsterdam school of cultural analysis, uva).

upcoming event: june 15-16, 2017