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Footprints of Everyday Things

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