Footprints of Everyday Things


Footprints of Everyday Things

Sat, Nov 18, 2017-Tue, Mar 06, 2018 West Village H
Exhibition Sat, Nov 18, 2017-Tue, Mar 06, 2018
West Village H

The exhibition Footprints of Everyday Things translates life cycle assessment data of consumer products, which is often difficult to visualize, into images of everyday life. 

The exhibition began as interdisciplinary research between Dr. Matthew Eckelman from the Northeastern Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Michelle Laboy of the Northeastern School of Architecture. Environmental footprints quantitatively describe the hidden flows of inputs and emissions of products, as well as the environmental impacts that these emissions can have. These inputs and emissions are hidden from us, the consumers of goods and services, because we typically don’t know how our products are made, where they are assembled, or often even what is in them. Hidden flows can be uncovered using tools like Life Cycle Assessment. This exhibit explores the power of the image to represent the environmental footprints of everyday things. The images create absurd situations through contrast of seemingly out-of-place or out-of-scale objects against perfectly normative scenes in the urban environment to elicit a more visceral understanding of the impacts of everyday consumption. This Exhibition has been made possible by the support of a CAMD Faculty Research and Creative Activity Grant

Learn more about the research behind this exhibition at


West Village H

440 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02116

Dr. Matthew Eckelman

Assistant Professor, Northeastern Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Matthew Eckelman produces the Life-Cycle quantitative analysis for LCAart projects, and in collaboration with Michelle Laboy, finds and conceptualizes the projects. He is an Assistant Professor at Northeastern University in Boston in Civil and Environmental Engineering. His research broadly examines the sustainability of novel materials and technologies at industrial scales, covering nanomaterials and nano-enabled devices, biofuels and bio-based chemicals, high-tech metals and alloys, energy efficiency technologies, and  green buildings. Prior to this, Dr. Eckelman worked with the Massachusetts State Executive Office of Environmental Affairs and Design that Matters, a non-profit product design company, and was a Peace Corps science instructor in southern Nepal for several years. He holds a doctorate in chemical and environmental engineering from Yale University.

Michelle Laboy

Assistant Professor, Northeastern School of Architecture

Michelle Laboy photographs and produces the images of LCAart, and collaborates with Matt Eckelman in identifying and conceptualizing the projects. She is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Northeastern University, with a courtesy appointment with the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. As a designer with degrees in architecture, engineering and urban planning, she is interested in interdisciplinary design approaches that create productive connections between natural systems and the built environment. Her research and teaching examines how ecological thinking influences design theory and practice to drive its aesthetic and performance agendas; including adaptation to changing environments.