80 Washington Square East, NYU

Workshop for Environmental Technik


July 6 – September 2, 2023

Project Space

Workshop for Environmental Technik (WET)

Breach gestures to the ruin of climate catastrophe, historically situating a crisis by design. It examines the self-published archives of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, a pervasive yet inconspicuous design agency established in the early 19th century. Delving into the bureaucratic overflow of the Corps’ involvement in producing so-called “water-related infrastructures,” this research project documents an object-array of levees, dams, beaches, and walls that constitute a synthetic yet perpetually naturalized environment.
In suspending an achronological accumulation of technical reports, photographic scans, and audiovisual files, the exhibition recasts the apparatus of the Corps’ mediatic production in a counter-archive of environmental techniques. This armature reconsiders the discursive scaffolds sustaining the uneven development of militarized frontiers of extraction, mitigation, and pacification, holding open the epistemic floodgates for breaching otherwise.

This exhibition is part of the ongoing work of the Workshop for Environmental Technik (WET), a group founded by researchers Ricky Ruihong Li and Isabelle A. Tan dedicated to the experimental study of environmental politics. Their collective work explores the architectures by which territories of the Natural have been marked, unmarked and remarked upon.  

Exhibition design by Fernanda Carlovich.

Installation image of the exhibition featuring two tall standing poles in the center of the room. Surrounding the poles, are a series of interactive articles and papers part of a flippable archive. On the right side, large windows pour white light into the room.
Installation view of the exhibition featuring flippable archival papers and articles surrounding two poles. On the left, two television monitors are mounted to a white wall.
Close-up image of the installation featuring several images and articles from the archive bound in plastic in a row.
Installation view of the exhibition featuring two television monitors mounted to a white wall. On the left, a blank screen monitor is black. On the right, the monitor shows a still from the video compilation of a snowy landscape.
Photos by Carter Seddon.