A. Gerber, C. Hegel

A. Gerber, C. Hegel


Alix Gerber and Christine Hegel live in New York, met at PDC ’18, and are also working together on a situated action called The Deafening Silence of Public Hearings.

Alix is a design researcher exploring how we can use design to diversify visions about how we cooperate and live together in the future, and also to design together in service of alternative social structures that already exist. She has worked for the past five years to explore alternatives to the U.S. criminal legal system and futures without policing, working with youth on probation in New York City, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, as well as university students and conference attendees. As a visiting assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, she developed a course called Radical Design that uses a speculative design approach to imagine alternative civic experiences, and a project called Futures of Public Safety that imagined multiple futures without policing through the things that could exist within them. She also spent time as a member of the Neighborhood Policing Steering Committee in Ferguson, MO, a public group involved in the city’s process of court-ordered police reform.

Christine is an anthropologist, and most recently published Ethnography by Design: Scenographic Experiments in Fieldwork (co-authored with Luke Cantarella and George E.  Marcus). She is currently working with waste-pickers in New York City on projects that entail co-designing for visibility and participatory advocacy for livelihood rights. She has also examined creative uses of legal technologies in Egypt, including “retrofitted” quasi-legal commercial devices, to secure rights not guaranteed by the law.

This work offered insights into how ordinary citizens redesign bureaucratic tools to bring them into alignment with moral and pragmatic expectations.