Co-creating with Animals
Crossing the ‘Narrow Abyss of Non-comprehension’
This paper describes student work in a seminar and field school that use research through designing as a means to engage the more-than-human world in landscape architectural design practices. Students used an epistemology of engagement to observe, describe and co-create with animals, towards an applied end of transferrable design theories and practices that aim to make places for people and animals. Claire Waterton has described the large literature in anthropology, cultural geography and related social sciences exploring the idea that how we study the world is also a way of reinforcing, of performing, that world (Waterton, 2003). This field experiment sought to invert that structure: by consciously performing an inquiry, can we change how we perceive and conceive of the world and, specifically, the role of animals as co-creators of our landscape architectural designs? The field experiments were grounded in art practices, intentionally uncoupling and problematising notions of perception, landscapes and their human and non-human inhabitants (Jeremijenko, 2010).
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