Nicholas Shapiro is a Matter, Materials and Culture Fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation and an Open Air Fellow at the grassroots environmental monitoring non-profit Public Lab.
His research revolves around the complex figure of formaldehyde as a gateway to understanding common and caustic domestic chemical ecologies and the instruments through which such invisible realities are known. For his doctoral work he tracked the quasi-legal resale of 150,000 former emergency housing units (FEMA trailers) as they were resold across the country using a medley of ethnography, analytically chemistry and GIS mapping.
During a post-doc at Goldsmiths, University of London, I helped to develop a participatory design project aimed at monitoring the air quality impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction in northeastern Pennsylvania. Nick’s work on the chemicals that hold together and corrode late industrial words moves between the social sciences, the natural sciences and the arts.
Everyday infrastructure, DIY scientific instrumentation, biopolitics, critical theory, multispecies ethnography