STAKES AT THE EDGE OF PARTICIPATION: WHERE WORDS AND THINGS ARE THE ENTIRELY SERIOUS TITLE OF A PROBLEM

Li Jönsson, Tau Ulv Lensskjold

Abstract


This paper examines how the material performativity of experimental prototypes can provide us with new insights into what it means to “have a stake” when engaged in co-design. For participants like birds and frail elderly people, a participatory interest cannot necessarily be articulated through language and discourse. Drawing on examples from the recent research project Urban Animals and Us (UA&Us), we suggest that experimental prototypes hold the promise of material enactments of relations that enable a re-articulation of what it means to have a stake in a socio-material event. In the specific context of this project, a stake might be the enchantment of a reality otherwise bound to conformity and limited by deteriorated mental and physical faculties. We further argue that the experimental prototypes hold a capacity to structure and enable an essentially deanthropocentric relationality that affords cross species relations and installs a sense of wonderment by extending the life-worlds of elderly people beyond the windowpane and towards the birds in the park. In conclusion we suggest that a stake, under these conditions, could be related to the methodological inventiveness by which prototypes and practices are associated with the speculative attempt at producing novel realities such as new interspecies relations.

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