Weird Compasses

This workshop was rescheduled from 3/21 to 4/25. This class will take place via Zoom. 

How many people live next door to you?
What direction do storms generally come in?
What is the dimension of your watershed?

Compasses are a tool to orient ourselves in relation to a world, but which world, and who or what authored it? In the context of the Anthropocene—a geological time period marked by adverse human influence—orientation enacts an urgent set of decisions, a matter of agency and response, about what worlds we use as frames of reference and which we do not. In this workshop, we will experiment with building “weird” compasses. To do so, we’ll give attention to and cultivate near-body ecologies as a practice of environmental feedback and reference. Using our climates, atmospheres, and infrastructures to orient us, we will construct compasses of our own making to reinterpret and enact a daily ritual, a commute, a conversation. In doing so, we will unearth that there already are, and should be many more, worlds of our own making—worlds that queer our dominant and normative systems of power.

Price: Free with RSVP. $10 Donation suggested.

Audience: Open to all.

Materials: Materials provided.

Austin Wade Smith is a designer, creative technologist, and researcher based in Brooklyn, New York. After studying biology and architecture, he is currently an adjunct faculty member at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union and cofounder of the design studio Helloeverything. At the intersection of human-computer interaction, ecology, pedagogy, and games, he explores spatial design as an enacted form of community assimilation and socio-technical play. He is cofounder of the art / design / technology cooperative Soft Surplus, and enjoys flying kites and cultivating orchids.

About Fruits of the Pluralist
Encouraging non-binary perception and embracing contradiction broadens communication to the world and to ourselves. Would it be possible for the real and the imaginary, start and finish, the articulate and the inarticulable, to not be oppositional?

Fruits of the Pluralist is a program series that explores technological systems and practices that recognize many different kinds of identities, structures, and forms of communication. The series will showcase workshops and activations centered in spatiality and non-binary complexity.

For more information, readings, and related materials, please visit

Please note, this class is held on our second floor. At this time, we do not have an elevator. Please email with any questions or concerns regarding accessibility, or any other questions regarding this workshop.