Desert Botanical Garden Embarks on 2-year Immersive Artwork with London Based Studio ScanLAB Projects | Desert Botanical Garden


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Desert Botanical Garden Embarks on 2-year Immersive Artwork with London Based Studio ScanLAB Projects

January 18, 2024

Phoenix, Arizona – Desert Botanical Garden, has embarked on a new partnership with London-based pioneering artist studio ScanLAB Projects which will bring its groundbreaking visual and technical artwork to the Garden in 2025. The exhibit will be a first-of-its kind in the Valley to connect science and nature at this scale in indoor and outdoor environments.

In October 2023, ScanLAB Projects, led by directors and cofounders Matt Shaw and William Trossell, started composing 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 has selected more than a dozen distinct scan sites across the Valley and at the Garden and since October, 3D scans have been recorded daily and will continue through October 2024. These 12-months of 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 will include a desert development in Rio Verde, a Saguaro growth monitoring site near Needle Rock, and recreation areas along North Bush Highway.

“We are very excited about the collaboration with ScanLAB Projects. To be involved in the creative process from start to completion is an opportunity that we have not had the opportunity to do with other artists”, shared Elaine McGinn the Garden’s Chief Experience Officer.

Through their specialized rendering techniques, ScanLAB 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.

“When ScanLAB’s work was first brought to our attention, the connection between science, nature and art aligned with our vision for innovative experiences in our new Exhibit Gallery. We look forward to the opening of the exhibition in 2025”, continues McGinn.

DESERT PULSE is not just an 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 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. The studio’s award-winning work has been exhibited internationally including at LACMA, La Biennale in Venice, The Louisiana, The New Museum NYC, PHI Centre Montreal, the Royal Academy and The Barbican.

About Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden has five thematic trails filled with 50,000 plants that connects visitors to the wonders of desert plants of the world, with an emphasis on the Sonoran Desert. For 85 years, the Garden has been a pioneer in conservation and research, as well as world-class exhibitions, vibrant events and festivals, learning experiences for all ages, and so much more. For more information, visit

The Garden, Garden Shop and Restaurants will be CLOSED July 1-7.