Desert Pulse | Desert Botanical Garden

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Desert Pulse

DATES: October 2025 - May 2026
TIMES: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m.
PRICE: Included with Garden admission or membership


Desert Botanical Garden Embarks on two-year immersive artwork with London-based studio ScanLAB Projects  

Desert Botanical Garden is embarking on a new partnership with London-based pioneering artist studio ScanLAB Projects, bringing its groundbreaking visual and technical artwork here in 2025. The exhibit will be a first-of-its-kind in the Valley to connect science and nature at this scale in both indoor and outdoor environments.

In October 2023, ScanLAB Projects, led by cofounders Matt Shaw and William Trossell, started a unique experience for the Garden titled DESERT PULSE — a spatialized installation that displays footage of the desert landscape and desert flora in a remarkably new way using LiDAR 3D scanning.

ScanLAB Projects has selected 15 distinct sites across the Valley and at the Garden. These daily 3D scans will be recorded over a 12-month period. The recorded data will reveal unseen environmental changes — the result of human, natural and industrial processes — all impossible to see with the naked eye or through the lens of traditional cameras. The team will document cactus flowering and fruiting, shifting sediment patterns along the Salt River, recent fire-damaged desert and desert blooms. Locations include a desert development in Rio Verde, a saguaro growth monitoring site near Needle Rock, a recovering fire area in McDowell Mountain Preserve and a working landfill.

Through their specialized rendering techniques, ScanLAB Projects will turn the recorded data into breathtaking visuals that will be exhibited as an impressive multi-screen digital installation to be exhibited amongst the Garden’s plants and trails, as well as its new Exhibits Gallery.

DESERT PULSE is not just artwork, the data collected will contain empirical, measurable facts that can and will be used for research by the Garden’s team of scientists.

“Over the last 5 years, we’ve been using these incredible tools to observe environmental and human-lead change across UK landscapes. We are so excited to introduce this technique of poetic observation to an entirely new ecosystem and to explore unseen transformations within the desert.

We hope our installations will delight but also challenge visitors to think beyond the here and now, to think about shifts in the landscape, in the climate and in our relationship to nature.” ScanLAB Projects

ScanLAB Projects have been creatively experimenting with scanning technology for over a decade, producing innovative artworks, films, immersive installations, VR and more.

Meet the Artists 

Matthew Shaw, Director
Matt is co-founder of ScanLAB Projects. His background is in architecture, digital fabrication and speculation about digital cities of the future. Over the last 15 years he’s been turning the relentless, machinic eye of the 3D scanner on anything and everything – from giant mirrored sculptures, to Arctic ice floes, to Roman Sewers to graceful dancers. He is fascinated by the creative and critical role of the pointcloud, and is a big believer in experimentation and precision in equal measure.

William Trossell, Director
Will is co-founder of ScanLAB Projects. He loves building new and extraordinary ways to expand our understanding of the material world. He graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture but has been somewhat sidetracked as a creative technologist. With a keen interest in how the digital and its augmentation might impact our cultural heritage, Will has worked closely with museums and World Heritage Sites around the globe.

To view, ScanLAB projects, past work visit: Work | ScanLAB Projects

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