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


On October 21 2021 FLYOVER hosted short talks presenting research on rural–urban automation and post–pastoral speculation. On October 22 2022 a worldbuilding workshop introduced complex techniques for constructing rural-urban futures.


Flyover Fictions pairs designer-storytellers with scientists and engineers to develop design fictions that push existing investigations into speculative and projective domains.

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.

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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).  

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