For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Nicole Koltick
Nicole Koltick
Associate Professor
Associate Professor

Contact:

Location:

Design Futures Lab, URBN Center, 430
Nicole Koltick currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, Design and Urbanism in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University. Professor Koltick founded the Design Futures Lab, one of the first speculative design research labs in the United States in 2012, to deploy novel operational methodologies across the realms of machines, materials and narratives. By mining contemporary and near-future developments in science and technology, tangents and threads of information are re-formulated into new narrative provocations which are designed and prototyped. In her lab, materials research encompasses the synthetic, the biological and the speculative. Narratives engage specific philosophical, theoretical and critical stances that are constructed, queried or amplified through the project and machines are defined broadly as computers, robotics, mechanical systems, computer-controlled fabrication methods and the software and infrastructure underpinning these entities.

Many of the lab’s projects explore novel ways in which we might sense and affect within environments. In the Design Futures Lab, environments are synonymous with ecologies and through ecological frameworks, we can start to interrogate, integrate, simulate and propagate a myriad of interrelationships. An ecological approach necessitates an understanding that designers must consider both everything and every thing. Contemporary environments encompass an increasingly expanded and intertwined confluence of digital, biological, cultural, informational and material concerns. Her lab has produced a wide range of prototypes including scent communication devices, synthetic biological interior surfaces, hybrid bio-computational design objects and a series of novel ambient robots.

Professor Koltick’s work embodies her commitment to anti-disciplinarity, operating at highly variable scales and deploying widely divergent methodologies. Her products of research include essays, tangible objects, environments and films. She is a MacDowell Fellow, has delivered a TEDx talk on the work of the Design Futures Lab and her work has received extensive editorial coverage on leading websites including Fast Company, Dezeen, the Creator’s Project and Architizer. Professor Koltick holds a BFA, in Art from Carnegie Mellon University and a Master’s of Architecture from UCLA. She is currently finishing a PhD in Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought with a focus in Digital Design at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee Switzerland.

www.designfutureslab.com

BFA, Carnegie Mellon University
March, UCLA
PhD, Digital Design, European Graduate School (ABD, degree expected fall 2021)

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS:

N.Koltick. Collisional Models in (Ed.) Leslie Atzmon, Design & Science, Routledge, 2021 (forthcoming)

Brack, M, Niemac, J, Koltick, N, Mangold, W, Jung, U. Motley Crews: Learning from Interdisciplinary Design Charrettes. Proceedings of the ACSA (Association of  Collegiate Schools of Architecture) 108 Virtual Conference, June 2020.

N. Koltick & E. Sabinson. Allomimetic Behavior & Gestural Programming: Co-developed Movement between Robots and Designers, Proceedings of  Virtual +Actual: Process and Product of Design, Design Communication Association, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, October 2018.

N.Koltick. Phenomenal Machines, “Materials” Dossier, Technosphere Magazine, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, Germany, March 2018. https://www.anthropocene-curriculum.org/contribution/phenomenal-machines-2

As part of the multi-year project, The Anthropocene Curriculum, developed by Haus der Kulturen der Welt  (HKW, Berlin) and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG, Berlin), Project is funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture & the Media, the Federal Foreign Office and the Max Planck Society.

N.Koltick. Phenomenal Machines, “Human” Dossier, Technosphere Magazine, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, Germany, April 2017.

N. Koltick. The Artificial, the Accidental, the Aesthetic…. Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts, [S.l..], v. 7, n. 1, p. 17-20, November, 2015. http://artes.ucp.pt/citarj/article/view/143

N. Koltick. Autonomous Botanists. Proceedings of the ACADIA (Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture) Annual Conference, Computational Ecologies: Design in the Anthropocene, Cincinnati, OH, October, 2015.

N. Koltick, E. Sabinson, J. Hardman and M. Hogan. Autonomous Botanists in N. Leach & X. Weiguo (Eds.), Digital Factory. Beijing: China Architecture & Building Press, September 2015.

N.  Koltick. Accidental Aesthetics: Philosophies of the Artificial. Proceedings of xCoAx 2015 Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X, Glasgow, Scotland, June, 2015.

N. Koltick. With Space, No Longer With in: Provocations for a Newly Emergent Practice of Interiority. ELISAVA Temes de Disseny, issue 30, January, 2015. https://www.raco.cat/index.php/Temes/article/view/286163

N. Koltick. Better Know a VLO, Speculative Philosophical Approaches to Very Large Organizations. Globalizing Architecture  /  Flows  and  Disruption:  Proceedings  of  the  ACSA  102nd National Conference, Miami, FL, 10-12, April, 2014.

N. Koltick. “Interior Prosthetics” in (Ed.) Liss Werner, [En]coding Architecture: Autonomy of Architecture / Code / Fabrication / Material Morphology / Robots / Machinic Desire and Computational Theory, Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture, Pittsburgh, PA, January 2014.  

N. Koltick. Tomorrow’s Ecologies: a Synthetic Approach. New Constellations, New Ecologies, Proceedings of the ACSA 101st National Conference. San Francisco, CA, March, 2013.

N. Koltick and M. J. Lutz. A Field Guide to Generating Architectural Species, New Constellations, New Ecologies, Proceedings of the ACSA 101st National Conference. San Francisco, CA, March 2013.
Koltick, Nicole. “Occupy Objects.” in Fresh punches: Experimental Architecture. Eds. Hume, N., Hume, A. C., & Ruppert, P.  2013. ISBN: 1482345757

N. Koltick. A Materiality of Agency: Speculations on the Impact of Biological Computation on Materiality. Digital Aptitudes, Proceedings of the ACSA 100th National Conference. hosted by MIT, Boston, MA, 1- 2 April 2012.

N. Koltick. Entropic Ecologies, VOLUME, Vol.31, no. 1, p.150-1, 2012.
Edited by:  Arjen Oosterman
Contributing editors: Ole Bouman, Rem Koolhaas, Mark Wigley
Co-editors for this issue: Liam Young and Kate Davies, Feature editor: Jeffrey Inaba
(International Design Journal) ISBN:9 789 077 966 310


STATEMENT:

Instead of being driven by specific lines of inquiry, my research can be understood as a series of distinct working methodologies which seek to access a variety of unseen phenomena arising from emerging computational ecologies as they intersect with the material. In my work I draw from recent post-humanist discourse as well as emerging research work in fields such as evolutionary biology, collective behavior, robotics, neuroscience and complexity science. I am seeking to identify small areas of insertion and potential methodologies through which we might start to engage these incredibly vast and entangled organizations at a variety of spatiotemporal scales. By calling attention to a number of invisible and potentially unwilling participants, an inclusionary assessment of current practice demands consideration of all objects and processes as legitimate agents which often times exert as much or more influence then human beings involved. Translations occurring between the digital and analog are increasingly vital points of access. This notion of interfaciality moves beyond a previously narrow delineation of actors and exchanges for a far more inclusionary landscape of causality. I deploy speculative design methodologies to explore this increasingly opaque terrain. I use computational strategies including hardware and software, procedural and formal, to query the underpinnings and entanglements of these technologies.

The primary products of my research (tangible design artifacts, writing and speculative proposals) operate as complementary devices to query potential futures as well as examine present effects across multiple domains. Writing allows for speculation and deliberation of the philosophical and theoretical implications of emerging developments in science and technology. Of particular interest are the increasing number of access points that have opened up for artist and designers (these terms are utilized very broadly and are meant in an anti-disciplinary sense) to begin to engage newly revealed scalar operations of magnitude both very large and very small in addition to expanded new temporal opportunities. In addition, I pursue the production of physically prototyped design objects, environments and experiences. By engaging with computation, form, aesthetics, materiality and future narratives, the ability to produce tangible artifacts allows the work to be communicated and evaluated in substantially different ways. My commitment to extensive production in both of these realms underscores the necessity in my practice of multiple methodologies to approach these complex issues.

INVITED LECTURES:

The Future of Design is not Design
The Center for Architecture and Design, Philadelphia PA, January 23, 2020
Keynote address for the 2020 AIA Women in Architecture (WIA) Conference

Dark Data: Technopositivism and Complicity in Design
Westphal College of Media Arts & Design Research Symposium
Mandell Theatre, Philadelphia, PA, February 28, 2020

Artifacts of Invisibility
VergeNYC Conference
Parsons The New School of Design, New York, NY, February 24, 2017

Object Narratives: Work from the Design Futures Lab
Spring Lecture Series
Department of Design, California State University, Sacramento CA, March 9, 2016.

Design in a Digital Environment
Comcast Research Summit
Philadelphia PA, March 16, 2015

TEDx Talk:  Work from the Design Futures Lab.
October, 2013.

EXHIBITS:

Phenomenal Machines (Film)
Project Team: Director, Nicole Koltick. Design & Production Team: Elena Sabinson, Jay Hardman and Mike Hogan
in Design & Science (Traveling Exhibition)
Esther Klein Gallery, Science Center, Philadelphia, PA, February-June, 2020 &
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, August-December 2019

Metagenomic Field Kit (Short Film, Design Prototypes and Visualization)
Project Team: Director, Nicole Koltick. Design & Production Team: Uk Jong, Elise Krespan, Alyssa Klein, Greg Sieber.
in Design & Science (Traveling Exhibition)
Esther Klein Gallery, Science Center, Philadelphia, PA, February-June, 2020 &
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, August-December 2019

Nourishing Dhaka (Jordan Solomonic and Design Futures Lab)
in Design & Science (Traveling Exhibition)
Esther Klein Gallery, Science Center, Philadelphia, PA, February-June, 2020 &
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, August-December 2019

Bio/Digital/Fabrication (Neha Basavaraj and Design Futures Lab)
in Design & Science (Traveling Exhibition)
Esther Klein Gallery, Science Center, Philadelphia, PA, February-June, 2020 &
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, August-December 2019

This exhibition featured projects that connect design and science through visual bio-design or bio-mimicry, including work that reconfigures design to include science or that transforms design in response to scientific or medical contexts. Included were an international roster of curated artists, scientists, and researchers including: Richard Feynman, Edward Tufte, and the estate of Charles Darwin. Exhibit curated by Professor Leslie Atzmon, Eastern Michigan University

Metagenomic Field Kit (short film, design prototypes and visualization)
Film and project presented at the BioDesign Challenge Symposium at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY and exhibited at the Parsons The New School of Design Gallery, June, 2018.
Project Team: Director, Nicole Koltick. Design & Production Team: Uk Jong, Elise Krespan, Alyssa Klein, Greg Sieber.

Phenomenal Machines (short film adaptation) commissioned by the HKW for the Technosphere Project, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany, April 2017.
http://technosphere-magazine.hkw.de/

NESL: Nurturing Emergent Synthetic Life (film and prototypes) in
125 Years: Drexel In the City
Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia PA, January- March, 2017

NESL: Nurturing Emergent Synthetic Life (film)
ROS: 1st International Robot Film Festival, Winner, 1st Prize in Real Robot Category
Eliche, Spain, March 9-10, 2017

NESL: Nurturing Emergent Synthetic Life (film)
IDEAS Exhibition, IDMMA (International Digital Media and Arts Association) Annual Conference, October 2016

NESL (Film Exhibited as Projected Installation)
(Design Futures Lab: N. Koltick, E. Sabinson, J. Hardman)
(In conjunction with XCoAx 2016 Computation, Communication and Aesthetics)
GAMEC (Galleria d’Arte Modernae Contemporanea di Bergamo)
Bergamo, Italy, June 2016.

CURIO_SITY
(Student Work from Winter 2016 Furniture Design Seminar)
ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair)
Jacob K Javits Convention Center, New York, NY, May 14-17, 2016.

OBJECT NARRATIVES: WORK FROM THE DESIGN FUTURES LAB
Department of Design Gallery (Solo Exhibition).
California State University, Sacramento, CA, February-April 2016.

AUTONOMOUS BOTANISTS
(Directed by N. Koltick Design Production Team: E. Sabinson, J. Hardman and M. Hogan) in Digital Factory: Advanced Computational Research Exhibition (Curated By Neal Leach and Xu Weiguo) CAUP Exhibition Space, Tongji University, Shanghai, China, July, 2015.

PROJECTS 12 / 13: WORK FROM THE DESIGN FUTURES LAB
Directed by Nicole Koltick. Full scale installations and interactive prototypes: Laura Nejman, Katie McHugh, Tashia Tucker, Kim Brown, Megan Mitchell, Sarah Moores.  
Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphia PA, July 2013.

CRAFTING MATERIAL EFFECTS WITH STUDIO MODE
(Gil Akos & Ronnie Parsons)
Exhibition curated by Nicole Koltick and Diana Nicholas
URBN Center Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, October-November, 2012.

SYNTHETIC LANDSCAPES (COLLABORATIVE PROJECT)
ACADIA National conference, San Francisco, October, 2012 &
ACSA National Conference, hosted by MIT, Boston, MA, March, 2012.

FORM AND FUNCTION
Work from Elective Furniture Design Seminar, Winter, 2012
AxD Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, March 2012

THE PAPER CLOUD
Model Citizen’s Satellite show to the ICFF (International Contemporary Furniture Fair)
Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY, May, 2011

NASF AND RESPONSIVE SURFACE RESEARCH
Faculty research exhibition.
Filbert Street Gallery, Philadelphia PA, April 2011

NASF: NORTH ATLANTIC SERVER FARM
(lutz/koltick: Nicole Koltick & Matthew Lutz)
Input/Output Adaptive Materials and Mediated Environments Exhibition,
Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia PA, October 2010

SWAP  
(lutz / koltick: Nicole Koltick & Matthew Lutz)
Winning Entry in Imagining Recovery Competition juried by Bernard Tschumi, Barry Bergdoll (MoMA), Mark Wigley (GSAPP), Mabel O. Wilson (Studio 6Ten), Michael Rock (2x4), Kate Orff (ScAPe), Damon Rich (cUP)
Berlage Institute, Rotterdam NL, June 2009

GRANTS & AWARDS:

Drexel’s Rapid Response Research & Development Fund for Racial Equity (Co-PI): Parallax Project Podcast
Funding Source: Drexel University Office of Research and Innovation
Project Team: Co-PI’s Nicole Koltick and Dr. Helene Furjan, Support Personnel, Lee Nentwig

The Parallax Project is a solutions journalism initiative dedicated to exploring inclusive, transdisciplinary, civic innovation, and to understanding and growing a culture of civic innovation in Philadelphia, focused on social, environmental, economic, and racial justice, and on issues of inclusivity, equity and access.

ExCITe Center’s 2019 Seed Project for Community Engagement (Co-PI): Parallax Project Podcast
Funding Source: ExCITe Center, Drexel University
Project Team: Co-PI’s Nicole Koltick and Dr. Helene Furjan, Support Personnel, Lee Nentwig

First Prize, Ros:1st International Robot Film Festival
NESL: (film)
Eliche, Spain, March 9-10, 2017

Faculty Scholarly and Creative Work Grant: Synthetic Ecologies: Autonomous Botanists (PI)
Funding Source: Drexel University

2015 INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AWARD
Funding Source: Drexel University

2014 INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL AWARD
Funding Source: Drexel University