A035. Sensing Urban Matter. Blooms, plumes and flour. Conversation with Nico Alexandroff on landscapes, material flows and environmental data
Cover illustration: Nico Alexandroff, Indexical Ice. Animation still.
The second podcast in the Sensing Urban Matter series engages with Nico Alexandroff, a research-architect based in London. Since graduating in MA Architecture from the Royal College of Art his work has featured in exhibitions in Glasgow, Prague, Seoul, Karlsruhe and London, and he has written for publications including Columbia GSAPP, the RIBA and others. Nico is a design tutor at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and he recently established AfterBodies—a design-research collective. He was also a member of the design research think-tank at Strelka institute of Design called ‘The Terraforming’. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art, researching cosmologies of Ice in relation to climate collapse.
Throughout this conversation we cover various projects carried out by Nico Alexandroff, his thinking around methodologies to tackle the intersections and feedback loops of natural systems, extractivism and legal and political systems that impact the way we experience and narrate climate change, as well as his work with alternative cartographies of material flows.
“…The type of framework I like to work in, is seeing material changes as part of political systems and interscalar issues. “In the Place of the Arctic” project and “Greenland’s Ice,” were to do with the new shipping lanes that were opening up in the Arctic because the ice is melting on the sea. These new shipping lanes mean that there is more black carbon pollution on the ice sheet, the black carbon pollution on the ice sheet leads to an algae that grows on an ice sheet, which is a pink-red algae. This algae eats the black carbon pollution, its main source of nutrients. Of course, that sounds like a good thing, but the algae is eleven times more solar-absorbing than the black carbon pollution (…) which means that eleven times less light is reflected off the ice sheet, a positive feedback loop is triggered by the occurrence of these new shipping lanes. (…) That comes back to us understanding that an action of one thing will cause a positive feedback loop of another thing.”
Reimagining Museums for Climate Action
Alexandroff, Nico, Mehigan, Benjamin, COP26 Reflections
Alexandroff, Nico, Handicapping Golf
Life at the (L)edge After Extraction
Anthropology of Ice
Fotograf Festival Magazine
Architektūros fondas’ programme Sensing Urban Matter is part of the Future Architecture platform and European Architecture programme 2021, and is co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and a strategic partner Lithuanian Council for Culture.