rootoftwo is a research- and practice-driven art, design, and technology studio. Their work raises questions about ubiquitous computing through tangible interaction with objects and environments. In addition, their projects explore the consequences of under-imagined futures and facilitate people to imagine and shape collective actions for more just transformations. They create artifacts, spaces, publications, experiences, events, and works for the public realm. rootoftwo completed the master plan for the creative/civic technology aspects of the Detroit Cultural Center Planning Initiative. In addition, Marshall and Charles coauthored the book chapter “Not at all evenly distributed” for The Routledge Companion to Media and the City (Routledge, 2022), posing questions about the effectiveness of using culture and the arts as mediators for consentful, place-based technology. Their most recognizable public work, Whithervanes, was commissioned by Locust Projects, Miami, in 2018 and Creative Folkestone for the 2014 Folkestone Triennial. rootoftwo’s work has appeared in museum/festival exhibitions such as A New Vision for Detroit’s Cultural Center: The DIA Plaza/Midtown Cultural Connections International Design Competition (2019); Are You Talking to Me? (2018) for Cité du Design, Saint-Étienne, France; DETROIT MADE at the 2014 Detroit Design Festival; Post-Industrial Complex (2012) at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit ; Dlectricity (2012); and Trouble in Paradise/Medi(t)ation of Survival (2010) at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto(2010). Their works are in the permanent collections of the Nevada Museum of Art’s Center for Art + Environment, the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute, Folkestone Artworks, and the Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center. They have been recognized with two Knight Arts Challenge awards, a 2016 AIA Michigan Honor Award (with DAUB), and were finalists for the 2016 SXSW Place by Design.
rootoftwo is a research- and practice-driven art, design and technology studio that explores the consequences of under-imagined futures through tangible objects, environments, and participatory methods.More
Cézanne Charles is a creative practitioner, curator, and researcher. Her work focuses on the intersection of art, design, technology, economy, social justice, and public policy for future-making.Artist Bio
John Marshall is a creative practitioner, educator, and researcher. His work focuses on the digital design and fabrication of objects, products, and responsive environments for future-making.Artist Bio
Anyspace? Whatever. (AW) is conceived as a temporary architectural-scale indoor/outdoor installation designed to function as provocation, emblem, and host site for a series of reciprocal exchanges, research, community-led technology workshops, and people’s assemblies to support the ground-up visioning work of creating an equitable/responsible “smart city.” There are deep equity and justice implications bound up with the excitement and possibilities that technology affords. AW takes as its starting point Gilles Deleuze’s characterization of “any-space-whatever”—the propositional spaces visualized in glossy architectural renderings and discussed in corporate and policy literature about the “smart” city. By reasserting inflections that express curiosity, dismay, and ambivalence with the role of technology in shaping the social and the civic, the public and the private, AW is designed to instigate creative actions and activism. Our goal for the project is to initiate public debate and open speculation on how we might develop equitable and accountable technology/platforms while also imagining structures for resistance and agency. Materially, the project proposes methods for designing/building architecture, ephemera, and objects that incorporate strategies for surfacing and, in some cases, evading electronic, sonic, and visual means of detection. The material qualities of the structures/objects are defensive postures against the smart city: a kind of architectural security blanket. We are particularly interested in researching low observable technologies, electrochromic materials, and dazzle camouflage/painting (from World War I to contemporary uses in the automotive industry). Equally, we imagine making use of extended reality/augmented reality to create ephemera and media surrounding the installation.
Cézanne Charles is an artist, designer, curator, and researcher. Her work focuses on the intersection of art, design, technology, economy, social justice, and public policy for future-making. Together with John Marshall, she formed rootoftwo in 1998. rootoftwo works to subvert and reimagine systems, infrastructures, and networks. Their work typically explores democratic dilemmas arising from the networked “smart city” and its designed spaces and objects, as well as issues surrounding privacy, big data, surveillance, and digital inclusion. Rooted in physical making and computing practices, they utilize participatory design methods for visionary future-making, critical research, and engagement strategies. Charles is an active presenter at forums on creative industries research, place-based creative work, design, and new technology including the 2022 Western States Arts Federation’s Creative Vitality Summit; 2022 Cultural Policy Action Lab; 2022 and 2017 Grantmakers in the Arts Conferences ; 2019 Include Conference; 2019 Re:Publica Sequencer Keynote; 2018 SXSW Cities Summit: Economic Growth for Everyone; 2017 Detroit Design Summit: Design + Race; 2017 TACA Perforum: Cross Sector Collaborations; 2017 Artist Thrive Convening; 2017 Biennale Internationale Design Saint Étienne (as ShiftSpace + Universal Basic Policy Dialogues Curator); 2017 and 2016 New Museum IdeasCity; and 2016 SXSW SxgoodHub: Arts + Impact. She serves on Allied Media Projects’ board of directors, the Michigan Arts and Cultural Council, the BIPOC-led Advocacy Coalition, the Michigan Central District Art Program’s curatorial advisory board, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s board of directors, and the stewardship board for Design Core Detroit’s UNESCO City of Design initiative. Charles has a master of public affairs (formerly administration, and with an emphasis on science and technology public policy) from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a bachelor of arts in theatre studies from Ohio State University.
John Marshall is a creative practitioner, educator, and researcher. His work focuses on the digital design and fabrication of objects, products, and responsive environments for future-making. Together with Cézanne Charles, he formed rootoftwo in 1998. rootoftwo works to subvert and reimagine systems, infrastructures, and networks. Their work typically explores democratic dilemmas arising from the networked “smart city” and its designed spaces and objects, as well as issues surrounding privacy, big data, surveillance, and digital inclusion. Rooted in physical making and computing practices, they utilize participatory design methods for visionary future-making, critical research, and engagement strategies. Marshall has designed and led workshops focused on making sense of complex situations for a variety of corporate and nonprofit organizations. He has been a reviewer and juror for various journals, conferences, and academic programs in design, technology, engineering, and architecture (e.g. ACM SIGGRAPH, CoDesign journal, International Journal of Engineering Education, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the European Academy of Design, and Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology). Marshall is a tenured associate professor of art and design and an associate professor of architecture at the University of Michigan. He was the Founding Director of the Master of Design (MDes) in Integrative Design program at the university’s Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design from 2014 to 2020. Marshall holds a PhD in digital design and fabrication technology from Robert Gordon University, a master of arts in Art as Environment from Manchester Metropolitan University, a master of fine arts in sculpture from Ohio State University, and a bachelor of arts in fine art with honors from the Glasgow School of Art.