amelia marzec

The Laboratory For What's Possible


Software, Processing.


Tour guide of technology development sites.


Pup tent, Android sound piece.


Laboratory instruments, Arduino, electronics.

Guided tour

Guided tour based on the book.


Software in Processing, virtual tour.


Apothecary, plants from nuclear missile site.




Software in Processing, interaction.

pup tent

Pup tent in progress in Michigan.


Family dinner, software in Processing.


Ancestors, custom playing cards, Android sound piece.

testing a site

Testing nuclear missile site with the Geiger counter.


Photo series of technology development sites.


Draft of the tour guide.

Tent interview

Tent interview, software in Processing.


I grew up in an area where a significant amount of our communication technology was invented and developed. Recently I’ve been returning to document the changing landscape now that the organizations there have been shut down, and to study the uneasy relationship to surveillance culture. This comes at a time when my family members have been aging, and stories of their involvement in the industry are creeping into the project—what does it mean to work on research that helped to blow up your ancestors? The project consists of a book and an installation.

The book, What Happened Here, exposes the locations of 28 sites that were occupied by both Bell Labs and the U.S Army in the early 20th century. Architectural evidence from the experimentation that occurred remains on the land today. These places laid the groundwork for our communication technology today, and remind us that our communication systems were originally intended for warfare.

The installation, The Laboratory For What's Possible, expands upon two of the sites. One is a nuclear missile site just south of NYC. The other is the location where radar was invented that was used to bomb Prague during WWII. The installation situates the early telecommunications industry next to Slavic migration history, intergenerational trauma, and queer family. It includes interactive software that will allow viewers to experience the decommissioned industrial sites; tools and items that were built for testing the landscape; and medicinal plants collected from the nuclear missile site and tested by the Urban Soils Institute, as nature has begun to take back the land.

This project is supported by the Research Foundation of CUNY, and artist residencies with Swale House and the Urban Soils Institute.

Info >>


CUNY, Ox-Bow, The Center for Integrated Media at CalArts, HATCH at UC Davis, Social Practice Queens, Brooklyn International Performance Art Foundation (BIPAF), Champlain College, The Ear, Swale Lab, Urban Soils Institute

Materials and Technology Created:

Custom Processing software, handmade Geiger counter, Electro-magnetic frequency wave detector made with Arduino, site-specific sound installation running on an android phone

Exhibitions and Performances:

Books, blogs: