Ideas for Lunch: The Driverless City

Cities around the world, and the people who live, work and do business in them, are rethinking the social, political, environmental and economic life of urban centres for the age of driverless cars and exponential technologies.

Register here.

Join sparks & honey for an exploration of the Future of Cities with our Advisory Board Member, Dr Laura Forlano, design lead on the Driverless City Project – an Illinois Institute of Technology Nayar Prize finalist.

  • How does 21st-century society — which has been built, in ways large and small, around human drivers — change and reconfigure when they all become mere riders?
  • How might designers understand and engage with the opportunities presented by these and other emerging technologies?
  • How might designers ensure that these technologies reflect our values and ethical commitments?
  • What new questions will designers need to ask and what new skills and literacies are necessary in order to design for the driverless city?
  • How might designers involve communities and practice inclusion of diverse needs and aspirations?

About Dr Laura Forlano

Laura Forlano has been working at the intersection of emerging technologies and the future of cities for the past ten years in the US, Canada, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Australia and Japan. She is a social scientist and design researcher currently working as Associate Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute of Design. She is a Fulbright scholar and National Science Foundation scholar whose perspectives are sought out by the media, academic and professional institutions, and conferences on topics related to smart cities and the ‘internet of things’.

She has presented to The Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University and The Architecture League of New York and was most recently a keynote speaker on “Predicting the City” (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the SmartCity Expo World Congress (Barcelona, Spain).

Laura works with a range of organizations including the Institute for the Future, the Social Science Research Council, New America Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Foundations and the World Bank and has testified before the New York City Council and represented the public on the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer Advisory Committee.

The Driverless City project was recently featured in The New York Times Magazine and in an exhibition at the Vienna Biennale.

Symposium: Plant Intelligence


Thursday, March 22, 2018
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Special ticket required; register here.

With Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees and Stefano Mancuso, author of Brilliant Green and Plant Revolution and Janet Browne, Historian of Science, Harvard University (moderator)

Do plants have intelligence? Current advances in research shed new light on the remarkable interior life of plants. German forester Peter Wohlleben and Italian plant physiologist Stefano Mancuso explore the question of plant intelligence using biological evidence to challenge our common perception of plants and nature. Sharing intriguing new findings made in the forest and in the lab, these experts present new paradigms for our understanding of the vegetal world. Harvard’s distinguished historian of science, Janet Browne, moderates the discussion. A booksigning will follow the presentations.

Please enter via the Mosholu Entrance at 2950 Southern Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458.

What does AI need from you? 

Approaching Artificial Intelligence with Compassion

In this workshop, ABOG Fellow Stephanie Dinkins asks, “What Does AI need from you?” She explores how algorithms — decision-making procedures that computers use — create identity groups, privileging some and discriminating against others, particularly communities of color. Workshop participants will collaboratively envision how algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) will impact their lives in the future, and how the development of these technologies can be more ethically pursued in the present. A conversation follows between Dinkins and Marcus Ellington, Head of Industry for Media and Entertainment at Google, where his team oversees Google and YouTube’s cable television and advertising business.

This program is free and open to the public, but space is limited! Please RSVP to:


Stephanie Dinkins

Stephanie Dinkins is an artist interested in creating platforms for ongoing dialog about artificial intelligence as it intersects race, gender, aging and our future histories. She is particularly driven to work with communities of color to develop deep-rooted AI literacy and co-create more culturally inclusive equitable artificial intelligence. Dinkins holds an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is also an alumna of the International Center of Photography and the Independent Studies Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Her artwork is exhibited internationally, at a broad spectrum of community, private and institutional venues by design– including Institute of Contemporary Art Dunaujvaros, Hungary; Herning Kunstmuseum, Denmark; Spellman College Museum of Fine Art; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston; Wave Hill, Studio Museum in Harlem; The Long Island Museum, NY; Spedition Bremen; and the corner of Putnam and Malcolm X Blvd, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Urban Digital Humanities: Design and Sustainability – Feb 27

February 27 6-7:30pm
NYU Center for the Humanities
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor

Urban Digital Humanities: Design and Sustainability

Event Description:

The quest to design digital and real solutions to environmental problems will be the theme of three interdisciplinary presentations crossing the boundaries of the humanities, architecture, and engineering.

Micro dwellings: where the Quantified Self meets the Quantified Home
Louise Harpman
Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

Architecture for Crickets and Butterflies
Mitchell Joachim
Associate Professor of Practice, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

Digital Pedagogy: School of the Earth, and more
Peder Anker
Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

Moderated by Marion Thain, Director of Digital Humanities, NYU

Artificial/Animal Intelligences: Screening @ Anthology Film Archives, Feb 15

Screening | Andrew Norman Wilson: The Order of Ought

Thursday, February 15, 7:30pm
Anthology Film Archives
32 2nd Ave
New York, NY 10003

This screening, featuring videos and selections by Andrew Norman Wilson, presents works in which artificial and animal intelligence play a role in the production of images that emphasize alien perspectives for human viewers.

Wilson writes, “The works amount to an ethical disturbance in which the involvement of intelligent, amoral actors complicates a humanist legacy that understands the world as having been given for our needs and created in our image. From these revisionary vantage points, this stagnant legacy begins to contradict itself, amounting to an ecologically murderous, even suicidal tendency. Thankfully, I also sense an order of ought, a program for escape.”


  • Stan Brakhage, Mothlight,1963, 4 min, 16mm (preserved by Anthology Film Archives)
  • Andrew Norman Wilson, Ode to Seekers 2012, 2016, 8-min loop, digital
  • Yuri Ancarani, Da Vinci, 2014, 25 min, digital
    Andrew Norman Wilson, The Unthinkable Bygone, 2016, 2-min loop, digital
  • Chimpanzee Enjoys a Cigarette, 2010, 34 sec, digital
  • Jos De Gruyter and Harald Thys, Die Aap van Bloemfontein, 2014, 23 min, digital
  • My Finger Family Rhymes, Funny Animals Swimming Race Animals INDOOR PLAYGROUND For Kids 3D Colors Animals Finger Family Songs, 2017, 5-min excerpt, digital

Tickets are available at Anthology’s box office on the day of the show only. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first show of the day. There are no advance ticket sales. Reservations are available to Anthology or Swiss Institute members. For more ticket information, please see here:

This screening is wheelchair accessible. For other accessibility concerns at Anthology Film Archives, please email

Andrew Norman Wilson is an artist based in Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include Techne and the Decency of Means at the Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (2017), Dreamlands at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2017), the Gwangju Biennial (2016), the Berlin Biennial (2016), the Bucharest Biennial (2016), Bread and Roses at the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw (2016), and On Sweat, Paper and Porcelain at CCS Bard in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (2015). He has lectured at Oxford University, Cambridge University, Harvard University, Yale University, and UCLA, where he is now visiting faculty. His work has been featured in Aperture, Art in America, Artforum, Buzzed, Frieze, Gizmodo/Gawker, The New Yorker, and Wired. He has published writing in Artforum, e-flux, DIS, and a Darren Bader monograph from Koenig Books.

See Yourself E(x)ist

Since we’re having an Alternative Unknowns workshop later in this semester, this exhibition might be a good way to start thinking about uncertainties. It’s right around the corner at Pratt Gallery at 144 West 14th Street and a nicely spent lunch-break!


December 8, 2017–February 17, 2018

Pratt Manhattan Gallery presents See Yourself E(x)ist, an exhibition that looks at the future of humans and nature—at our poetic and futile attempts at agency, and our absurd productive efforts to control. The exhibition presents incidences of human interaction—with animals, insects, leaves, trees, earth, and time—that yield extraordinary artifacts, engineered forms of hope, and objects of power. They’ve taken the form of robots, videos, paintings, sculptures, and interactive objects. The art acknowledges the elegance of futility, the strangeness of attempts at permanence, and the absurdity of technological advances.

See Yourself E(x)ist features work from eighteen artists including painters, jewelry  designers, mixed media, and installation artists that address our human future in nature and our inevitable transformation, evolution, and decay.

Artists and designers include: Nobumichi Asai, Alan Berliner, Michael Candy, Fantich & Young, Kathryn Fleming, Gijs Gieskes, Lee Griggs, Ann Hamilton, Dorry Hsu, John Jerard, Lanzavecchia + Wai, Lorenzo Oggiano, Jaime Pitarch, Andrew Quitmeyer, Madeline Schwartzman, and Allan Wexler.

Curated by Madeline Schwartzman, author of See Yourself Sensing: Redefining Human Perception and See Yourself X: Human Futures Expanded

See Yourself E(x)ist Brochure

Right to the Smart City: Integrated Design and the Civic Imaginary”

Anthropology Lecture

Thursday, February 8, 6-8pm

Dorothy Hirshon Suite, Arnold Hall, 55 W 13th St, Room I-205

Beth Coleman, Associate Professor of Experimental Digital Media at the University of Waterloo will deliver a lecture: “Right to the Smart City: Integrated design and the civic imaginary.”

Abstract: In an age of smart technology, big data, and the concomitant threat of a surveillance society, how do we understand the citizen’s right to the city and how that right is manifested? In this talk, I discuss my research relation to the complexity of the sociotechnological world we inhabit through the lens of smart city infrastructures and interaction design. The term “smart” describes autonomous computational processes built into the physical environment, such as traffic lights that work responsively (as opposed to mechanically) to fix congested roadways. Smart technologies, such as those projected for a smart city, presents risks and opportunities in regard to privacy, social inclusion, and civic futures. The rights of a civic body and the civic imaginary by which these rights may be articulated speak to valuable, albeit complex, intersectionalities of civic culture, such as race, class, and territory that address critical issues of our time: urban density, income inequality, economic and political instability, population mobility, environmental stewardship, among others. My work directly addresses a recognized gap in the smart city research domain that “civic actors are not yet central to smart city design.” Equally though, my research—manifest in ethnographic fieldwork, data analysis, and speculative design—speaks to a recognition of a poetic city as a critical aspect of the urban imaginary that should not be left aside from the projected efficiencies of the smart city. I address modes of engagement across platforms, formats, and context that include big data analysis, augmented realty (AR) interface, distributed narratives, games & play.