(Journal Artifact) A foray into not-quite companion species: Design experiments with urban-animals as signi!cant others

Tau Ulv Lenskjold, Li Jönsson

Abstract


This article has been selected for a special issue of the online journal Artifact.

This paper examines the project, Urban Animals and Us, as a journey - or foray - into the ‘terrain vague’ between people and (other) animals with whom we share urban space. Through three design experiments developed around speculative prototypes and co-design tools, we attempt to bring ’wild’ urban animals - like magpies and gulls into contact with the residents of a senior retirement home, to explore what new practices can arise between, otherwise, unconnected life-worlds. We expand the notion of companion species from philosopher of science Donna Haraway and begin to position the current project within a growing interest in animals in contemporary design research. Through analysis of the design experiments and the subsequent discussion, we argue, that a foray into interspecies relations, can inform the practical research agenda, and, help to re-articulate the dominant anthropocentricity of design research.

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