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Flyover is a research platform exploring rural automation and post-pastoral speculation.

Flyover is an aerial phenomenon, a view from the clouds detached from the ground. Flyover typically means to bypass, to fly-by or fly-through. "Flyover land" is often used as a pejorative term, signifying a "boring place where more flights pass over than land." This premise of the rural must be challenged, as a complex imaginary space and as a necessary link to urban supply chains.

At its core, the rural can only be characterized as a place with low density of human populations, but its populations of other species and materials are often robust. In Flyover country, new infrastructures and new technologies are yielding strange designs, differently apprehended from near encounters and far perspectives.

Flyover starts from its home in Nebraska, but our inquiries extend nationally, globally, and into outer space. Flyover investigates the rural mega-region as a place that feeds the urban, a place that contains pockets of micro-urbanization and that is rapidly transforming due to new technologies. The plains of Nebraska, long known for farming fields, are now research sites for energy systems, animal cultivation, and plant pathology.

FLYOVER bridges science, technology, art, and design to consider the production, allocation, and distribution of resources outside cities and towns. We propose alternative ecologies and reflect on the futures, past and present possibilities that shape urban-rural interdependence.

FLYOVER is a creative think tank developing research about rural design and environmental futures as part of THE STORY LABORATORY for Design Fiction, Futures + Worldbuilding at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. Directed by Ash Eliza Smith (Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, UNL) with Story Lab fellow Stephanie Sherman (MA Narrative Environments, Central Saint Martins, London, UK).

Flyover Summit
Link to: Flyover Summit

Flyover Summit was a two-day convening exploring rural-urban systems design and environmental futures—from the Nebraska countryside to outer space.

*The Summit featured work by ARTIFICIAL RURAL IMAGINATION, live machine-generated reflections on the contents of Flyover Summit through an Artificial Rural Imagination. Produced by Robert Twomey with Ash Eliza Smith and a cadre of Carson Center undergraduates.

Flyover Fictions
Link to: Flyover Fictions

Flyover Fictions pairs designers, architects and artists with scientists and engineers to develop short visual digital books speculate on existing scientific research in some form. Designers might choose to communicate or translate existing work, rendering complex ideas in visual or diagrammatic form, or they may also interpret and imagine possibilities based on abstract or unresolved research questions.