Maya Livio, University of Colorado Boulder / Media Archaeology Lab

New Orleans 2019: Living with

Thermopower complicates the relationships between the American pika, human animals, technology—and the temperatures affecting all three. The American pika (Ochotona princeps), a small relative of rabbits who lives in the mountains of western North America, is widely considered a climate change indicator species. Pika vulnerability to the climate crisis is heightened by their narrow range of options for behavioral thermoregulation. Already living at high elevation, they have limited upslope mobility, and will be unable to migrate far in the face of warming temperatures.

Taking pika thermoregulation as a jumping off point, Thermopower extends a consideration of thermoregulation to include not only physiological and behavioral processes, but also technological mechanisms. By placing pika thermopractices into conversation with those of other organisms, technologies that thermoregulate (e.g. air conditioners), and technologies requiring thermoregulation (e.g. internet servers), the work examines shared articulations of temperature, scientific research, and non-innocence.