A general concord on how design need not revolve around HUMANS became the basis of this project. What is design if not for humans?
Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem-solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs. Human-centered design is all about building a deep empathy with the people you’re designing for; generating tons of ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made with the people you’re designing for, and eventually putting your innovative new solution out in the world.”
But what if we tried to shift the attention from human to non-human species?
How could we help people to build a deep empathy towards non-humans in order to motivate them in thinking about the other forms of life to be equally important to protect? Understanding our role in the ecosystem and the role nature and its inhabitants play in the world is crucial in order to make the change. To help create empathy towards other species, we tried to develop different communication tactics that could work in order to be able to interpret the other species' wishes. The tactics were developed based on data collected through workshops we conducted with people from different backgrounds and interviews with specialists within the field of zoology and veterinary medicine. The process of the project, as well as an accompanying Interspecies communication tactics video, will be part of this micro-workshop/performative lecture.
The 15-minute micro-workshop aims to engage people from different backgrounds to explore the topic of interspecies communication; applying a method that is approachable, low-risk, and at the same time supports out-of-the-ordinary ways of thinking. Participants will be asked to imagine a world without verbal language and design a tool for communication between humans and non-humans in this context.
The project aims to prompt the participants to see their surroundings and their non-human neighbors in a new light, so they are able to interact with them better. A doorway to empathy, it’s a tool to nudge people to discard a piece of their 'HUMANNESS' and adorn the persona of their loved non-humans. To design for non-humans, it is important to delve into human empathy and understand its extent. The project is an experiment ON humans as much as it is an experiment FOR non-humans.
The project was created as a part of a critical design course of Aalto School of Art, Design, and Architecture, by Tzuyu Chen, Mithila Mohan. Aino Tuovinen and Zuzana Zmatekova.
Requirements for participants
Zoom.us application for video streaming with free account
Please check your Zoom setting before the event starts - https://zoom.us/test
Zuzana Zmatekova is a textile designer trying to reach beyond the boundaries of the conventional reception and understanding of textile design. Zuzana is a textile designer currently studying at Aalto University and working as a freelancer. She perceives design to be a medium, delivering her own perspective on contemporary social and environmental issues.