QUT & KU Leuven put together the DIY & More-than-Human Media Architecture Workshop during MAB 2020/21 on 29th June 2021. QUT team comprised of Kavita Gonsalves, Waldemar Jenek, Associate Professor Glenda Amayo Caldwell and Professor Marcus Foth.
In recent years, research in the fields of Media Architecture and urban informatics have made calls to move beyond the human-centred city and towards a “more equitable multispecies city” (Van Dooren & Rose, 2012). Working towards future more-than-human cities, the design of hybrid digital-physical urban spaces – with an ethos of inclusivity and diversity – will require methods, tools, approaches, platforms, etc. to engage different communities, environments, and all kinds of nonhuman entities and creatures. This workshop posed the following question: While considering different characteristics (such as gender, race, class, abilities, creed, digital skills, habitat, bio-systems), how can citizens engage in creating DIY and More-than-Human Media Architecture to actively shape their spaces and foster imaginaries of more-than-human urban futurity, all while being kinder towards our stressed and fragile urban ecology?
As a first step, DIY Media Architecture proposes that communities of experts support non-experts to create and design Media Architecture as active instigators of change in their own right. A possible strategy may lie in mobilizing allegories, entanglements, multispecies world-making, speculative prototyping, i.e. techniques to frame and engage more-than-human urban futures. This is positioned as empowering the less heard as taking charge of their digital-physical canvases throughout urban spaces and, as a next step, staking their and all creatures’ rights to the city.
The workshop was conducted online from 24th-29th June 2021. The workshop provided the platform for discussions on alternative materials, platforms, strategies and tools for enabling DIY processes of the less heard in anthropocentric engagement. The workshop, further, encouraged participants to bring prototypes, demos, videos and examples to broaden the conversation on DIY and More-than-Human Media Architecture. This was collated towards two outcomes; 1) conceptual prototypes and 2) participants were invited to co-author a publication. This is in keeping with MAB2020’s Themes & Issues of “Citizen’s Digital Rights”, “Playful and Artistic Civic Engagement” and “More-Than-Human Cities”