“An exploration of large scale sensual atmospheres and environments where bodies, spaces, furniture and plants all contribute to new primal worlds.”

– Bitterang Farm, Lead Practitioners, Critical Practice 2016


Rigor Borealis is the culminating work of Zero-Craft Corp.’s Critical Practice Fellowship at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI. Rigor Borealis physically represents an extinct natural phenomenon described in our fictional narrative; the decomposition of the Fortune Wing carcass (Wingyoa fortunae). The decomposition sparks an intense eruption of volatile gases, causing the animal’s internal organs to balloon themselves into towering, bioluminescent, membranous structures. People and animals alike would gather around the visual spectacle of Rigor Borealis and celebrate throughout the night amongst the glow of the rotting corpses. By day, buzzards would circle and peck at the bloated tissue until it collapsed into a crumpled heap of flesh.

Output from this 10-week project included sculpture, drawings, photographs, collage, construction documents, costume, performance, and a small zine-like publication.

Check out our workshop process here.

Team members: Ying Cai, Jon DePew II, Teah Fink, Kenneth Humberstone, Timothy Miller, Drew Mittig, Brandi Patterson, Jack Potterack.

Visit the CritPRAX website

Our cohort included eight Master of Architecture students at Lawrence Technological University. Over the course of ten weeks, we worked together in exploring our own fantastical narrative about Rigor Borealis through formal and structural experimentation. The fellowship culminated in an exhibition at the Dodge Production Warehouse in Detroit, MI.


The final exhibition was entirely contingent upon the developments made during the ten weeks we spent with our students. We decided early that gesture and ingenuity would be essential to our process. Based on these principles, the project rapidly evolved through multiple phases, forms, and media.

Photo credit: PD Rearick at Artography