Nicole is an Associate Professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University in the Department of Architecture, Design & Urbanism. 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 deploys 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 and presented talks at ACSA, ACADIA, xCoAx, Design Research Society, POM (Philosophy of Machines) and other international conferences on design, computation and theory.
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's Phenomenal Machines film was featured in the HKW's Technosphere Magazine in 2017 in both the Material and Human Dossiers. The lab has been featured on Architizer, suckerpunch, dezeen, fast company, and other technology and design blogs.
Nicole has given two TEDx talks on her work which can be viewed here:
The Work of the Design Futures Lab &
Every Thing but You: Designing for NonHumans
Amanda Noumoff (Research Assistant, 2014-2015)
Courtney Walker (Research Assistant, 2014-2015)
Megan Sickles (Research Assistant, 2014-2015)
Kim Brown (Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)
Katie McHugh (Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)
Laura Nejman (Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)
Elena Sabinson (Senior Research Assistant, Master's Thesis)
Tashia Tucker (Senior Research Assistant, Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)
Greg Sieber (Research Assistant, Master's Thesis)
Neha Basavara (Research Assistant, Master's Thesis)
Amanda Jessup (Lab Resident 2016-2018, Master's Thesis)
Jordan Solomonic, (Research Assistant, 2015-2018, B. Arch Thesis)
Jay Hardman (Senior Research Assistant, Master's Thesis)
Shih-Hui (Sherry) Chang (Lab Resident 2015-2016, Master's Thesis)
Yiyun (Jack) Luo (Research Assistant, 2015)
Megan Mitchell (Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)
Sarah Moores (Lab Resident, Master's Thesis)