Nicole is an Assistant Professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University. She is the founding Director of the Design Futures Lab where she leads a graduate research group in speculative design practices. The Design Futures Lab is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Her practice spans the disciplines of art, science, technology, design and philosophy. Nicole holds a BFA, in Art from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s of Architecture from UCLA. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee Switzerland. She is writing on Non-Human Aesthetics, with a focus on the philosophical implications of aesthetics relating to emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics and synthetic biological hybrids.
Nicole’s current research interests include: future speculation, robotics, computation, artificial intelligence, speculative realism and interactive environments. Nicole is interested in exploring the boundaries between technology, science, the “natural”, the built environment and its inhabitants. Nicole works with complex and fantastical narratives as well as multi-agent systems and advanced computational strategies to envision new landscapes, environments and territories for inhabitation. Nicole regularly writes on issues pertaining to these interests and she has recently completed papers on the aesthetics of emergence, dark data, artificial intelligence and aesthetics, issues of materiality and agency in the future, transdisciplinary design methodologies and speculative realist approaches to very large organizations.
Nicole is a 2014 MacDowell Fellow completing a 6 week writing residency at the MacDowell Colony while working on the Synthetic Ecologies project. Nicole has been published recently in VOLUME, fresh punches, Encoding Architecture, Elisava TdD, CITAR: Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts. Nicole has delivered talks at ACSA, ACADIA, xCoAx, Design Research Society, The XI International Seminar of Architecture, The Digital Reveal: Architecture in the post-digital era, The work of the lab has had two major solo exhibits one in 2013 at the Pearlstein Gallery in Philadelphia, and a show entitled Object Narratives in 2016 at California State University, Sacramento, Design Gallery.
The lab has been featured on Architizer, suckerpunch, dezeen, fast company, and other technology and design blogs.
Nicole gave a TEDx talk on the work of the Design Futures Lab which can be viewed here.
Elena Sabinson (Senior Research Assistant)
15/16 Lab Members
Tashia Tucker (Senior Research Assistant)
Jay Hardman (Senior Research Assistant)
14/15 Lab Assistants
Shih-Hui (Sherry) Chang (Research Assistant)
Yiyun (Jack) Luo (Research Assistant)
13/14 Lab Residents
Amanda Noumoff (Research Assistant)
Courtney Walker (Research Assistant)
Megan Sickles (Research Assistant)
12/13 Lab Residents:
Mike Hogan, BioRealize, MachineSpeak LLC
Mike Hogan, the founder of MachineSpeak, is a local entrepreneur with experience in several fields, including embedded development, Process Analytical Technology and Knowledge Workbenches, arising from a 25 year career as an engineer in the Process Automation industry. Mike is also the Co-Founder of BioRealize a new Microbial Design Studio. This countertop biofabrication machine brings together the capabilities of a biology wetlab into a single inexpensive piece of hardware to design, culture, and test genetically modified organisms.
Mike left the corporate world at the end of 2014 and started MachineSpeak LLC in order to pursue opportunities in next-generation process technology and process informatics, and is in the midst of co-founding a start-up company in the general domain of Synthetic Biology. . One of MachineSpeak's stated objectives is to keep things fresh via involvement with local academic groups in the general fields of Engineering, Design and Life Sciences. Mike is an alumnus of Penn State (BA Math, MEng Engineering Science) and UPenn (MS Systems Engineering) and is a member of Hive76. He is sole named inventor on two US patents, a co-inventor on two additional patents, and a co-inventor on two pending patents.
Dr. Uri Hershberg
Dr. Hershberg is an Associate Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science & Health Systems at Drexel University. His research is mulitfaceted and his interests and work encompass: Bioinformatics, immunology, neural computation, system biology, somatic selection, autoimmunity, genetic stability, germline diversity, dendritic cell, transcription elements, pathogens, computational and mathematical modeling, complex systems, cognition and inflammation. Dr. Hershberg is serving as a critic at large for graduate projects as well as heading the Urban Microbial Landscapes project which the lab is participating in.
Colin holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University studying collective motion and group decision-making behavior with support from a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Prior to Princeton, Colin studied computer science and biology with support from a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship at Colgate University, where he first became interested in early DIY electronics while working with digital performance artist Cary Peppermint. Of note, Colin has worked on: Ant Colony Optimization and other bio-inspired algorithms at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, with support from a Fulbright Student Fellowship to Belgium; mountain gorillas in the Bwindi Impenetrable Rainforest, Uganda; and a robotic lobster at Northeastern University.
Photo Credit: Tim Radville
PJ Santoro is a Philadelphia based maker and a core member of the hackerspace Hive76. He specializes in Physical Computing and hosts monthly microcontroller workshops where he teaches about programming and electronics.