I am Associate Professor at Northeastern University in the departments of Art + Design and Public Policy, where I lead the graduate program in Information Design and Visualization. I holds a PhD in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Lab, and a Dipl. Ing. in Architecture from the Technical University Vienna. I worked as Key Researcher at the Austrian Ludwig Boltzmann Institute and the Ars Electronica Futurelab and professor in the Interface Culture program of the Art University Linz, Austria. I am currently visiting scholar at Harvard Metalab and a fellow at the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities.

My current research focuses on environmental information and evidence construction, their material/sensory aspects and social implications. I wrote the award-winning monograph Waste is Information – Infrastructure Legibility and Governance (MIT Press), worked as an advisor to the United Nations and published books on digital public space, accountability technologies and urban informatics. My PhD dissertation received the Outstanding Dissertation Award 2014 from the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, my research received the Best Paper Award 2012 from the Journal of the American Planning Association and the ASCINA young PI award.
In my artistic practice, I often collaborate with composers Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl under the name stadtmusik. My work has been exhibited internationally in venues including the Centre Pompidou, Sundance and the Hong Kong International Film Festival, ZKM Karlsruhe, Secession Vienna, and the Seoul International Media Art Biennale. My awards include the first prize in the NSF Visualization Challenge, the Jury Award at the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the Art Directors Club Silver Award, a Special Mention at the 12th International Media Art Biennale, and Honorary Mentions from File Festival São Paulo, Ars Electronica and Transmediale, Berlin.

Featured areas of research

Preprints of most publications available.

Waste Systems and Infrastructure Legibility

My research focuses on emerging practices of  making infrastructures legible through sensing, data analysis, and participatory methods and on the role of these practices in infrastructure governance. My monograph Waste is Information introduces the field of waste forensics to study waste systems at a global scale and their informal dimensions. I study also the role of 311 citizen reporting apps in urban governance and the motivations of volunteers using these apps.

Visualization and Data Materiality

My recent work investigates the material aspects of environmental data collection and their role in visual evidence construction in environmental conflicts. Data by Proxy – Material Traces as Autographic Visualizations introduces a design theory for revealing material traces. It is based on an earlier work with Orkan Telhan on indexicality. I developed physical visualizations of air pollution and a way for visualizing ground-level ozone pollution using indicator plants. I also study epistemic issues connected to data proxies – the appropriation of data collected for unrelated purposes.

Organizational Improvisation in Urban Data Platforms

Through qualitative methods, I investigate the unpredictable creative forces of improvisation and bricolage to build, maintain, and subvert urban data platforms. The Improstructure study (with K. Schechtner) investigates improvisational policy making and the social practices around electricity and streetlight provision in Manila in the context of infrastructure datafication efforts. The platform and the bricoleur studies practices of improvisation in the context of smart city initiatives in Indonesia.

Urban Soundscapes, Noise, and Auditory Perspectives

Since the early 2000’s, I have worked with soundartists to study the role of the auditory sense for the qualities of urban places. Recently, I have worked with Philips and the City of Los Angeles to deploy a distributed sensor network to study urban noise beyond the traditional dB(a) metric. With sound artist Sam Auinger, I have published a series of articles on auditory urbansim and am currently working on a chapter about the soundscape of Alexanderplatz in Berlin for the upcoming Handbook of the Anthropology of Sound.

Autographic Visualization (IEEE VIS Paper)

Autographic Visualization (IEEE VIS Paper)

Ozone Tattoo

Ozone Tattoo

Staubmarke (dustmark)

Staubmarke (dustmark)

Paper: Maps of Daesh

Paper: Maps of Daesh

Paper: Manila Improstructure

Paper: Manila Improstructure

Monograph “Waste is Information” (MIT Press)

Monograph “Waste is Information” (MIT Press)

Women’s March Archive

Women’s March Archive

LA Noise Array

LA Noise Array

Urban Radiance

Urban Radiance

Indexical Design Conference

Indexical Design Conference

Cryptographic Heritage 

Cryptographic Heritage 

Manila Improstructure

Manila Improstructure

Excavating a 2002 piece – wegzeit

Excavating a 2002 piece – wegzeit

Urban entropy

Urban entropy

Sorting Out Cities

Sorting Out Cities

Decoding the City

Decoding the City

LED Facade Northeastern

LED Facade Northeastern

Infrastructure legibility

Infrastructure legibility

Accountability Technologies

Accountability Technologies

What do New Yorkers complain about?

What do New Yorkers complain about?

Waste / Packaging Index (Guggenheim Lab Berlin)

Waste / Packaging Index (Guggenheim Lab Berlin)

Inscribing a Square: Urban Data as Public Space

Inscribing a Square: Urban Data as Public Space

DUST – Laboratoria Moscow

DUST – Laboratoria Moscow

forage tracking – mapping informal recycling

forage tracking – mapping informal recycling

Active Listening Sites

Active Listening Sites

sensing place / placing sense

sensing place / placing sense

BackTalk (MoMa)

BackTalk (MoMa)

Trash Track wins NSF visualization challenge

Trash Track wins NSF visualization challenge

dust serenade at MIT museum

dust serenade at MIT museum

FDTD awarded at File Festival Sao Paulo

FDTD awarded at File Festival Sao Paulo

Mapping the Archive

Mapping the Archive

A Timeline of Audiovisual Culture

A Timeline of Audiovisual Culture

stadtmusik#7 – boston buzz

stadtmusik#7 – boston buzz

stadtmusik #6 – innsbruck küche hell

stadtmusik #6 – innsbruck küche hell

The Scent of Information – Symposium

The Scent of Information – Symposium

dewy

dewy

Comment Flow

Comment Flow

zurückbleiben bitte!

zurückbleiben bitte!

dust till dawn

dust till dawn

Semaspace

Semaspace

moviemaps re:visited

moviemaps re:visited

kapitel 3

kapitel 3

mauerpark

mauerpark

Gedankenlandschaft

Gedankenlandschaft

paths of g

paths of g

felsen m18

felsen m18

visuals at sonar 2005

visuals at sonar 2005

isotope

isotope

heinz weiss (naredmanet)

heinz weiss (naredmanet)

re:modern trailer

re:modern trailer

loopcity

loopcity

steve reich – music for 18 musicians

steve reich – music for 18 musicians

The Language of Networks – Symposium

The Language of Networks – Symposium

Routine Pathways

Routine Pathways

5 minute places

5 minute places

trajectory

trajectory

wegzeit

wegzeit

besenbahn

besenbahn

LA Billboard Houses

LA Billboard Houses

Unit-M

Unit-M

l-void weekenders

l-void weekenders

orbital elements

orbital elements