about the lab

About The Lab

The Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab (MWL) is led by Elaine Gan at New York University, Center for Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement at the Graduate School of Arts & Science. The lab launched in February 2020 with funding from the Green Grants Program of NYU Office of Sustainability and the goodwill of friends and colleagues who are staying with the trouble (Haraway) to find ways of living in place, more carefully, less violently.

Combining methods from the sonic and visual arts, multispecies sensory ethnography, field-based scientific research, interactive documentary, journalism, and feminist theories of more-than human worlding, MWL is an interdisciplinary collective of students, scholars, and mediamakers. Together, we know a lot and we know too little. The lab began with a few questions: How might we study and engage with the many lively socialities and sensoria that are more than human? What is multispecies worldbuilding in an epoch of rapid and massive socioecological changes—delightful for some, deathly and devastating for many? What might it mean to imagine futures otherwise, to disagree with fascism and fundamentalism in all their guises, to be human differently?

To consider these questions, our Multispecies Worldbuilding podcast brings together conversations with scientists, writers, and artists who work with specific organisms (farmed, feral, wild, synthetic) or ecologies (for example, Superfund sites, forests, data networks) that are increasingly affected by climate change. Each episode features one interviewee and combines their voice with field recordings and experimental soundscapes to offer engaging and accessible examples of various kinds of research, teaching, and design practices. The episodes are not about the end of the world. MWL seeks to foreground multispecies histories and interdependencies, and ways in which people here and now are tinkering with new languages, playful devices, and extraordinary forms of critical/creative engagement every day.

We hope you will join us — and please tune in!

The Lab: Elaine Gan, director Wanda Acosta, creative director Josh Allen, composer and audio editor Joseph Hazan, audio engineer Ernst Karel, sonic ethnographer Hannah Tardie, artist and media researcher Genevieve Pfeiffer, graduate student associate

Thanks To: Dianne Anderson, Jane O’Mahony and Joann Lee at NYU Green Grants Dominick Bagnato and Dan Hodnett at NYU Digital Studio/Bobst Library Ben Montoya, Una Chaudhuri, Marina Zurkow, Yanoula Athanassakis, Donna Haraway, Mauricio Arango, Meredith Drum, Marean Pompidou, Helen Pritchard, Lori Cole, Howard Besser, Alex Kapelman, Robert Boynton, Felicity Cain, K. Aleah Papes, Isabella Vento, Jayati Narain, Kristen Torres, Alanna Elder, Amanda Hohenberg, Sarah Lookofsky, Nick Silcox, Rashida Kamal, Alexandra Guillen, Thaddeus Pompidou, Angelica Calabrese