Sculptural ‘stage sets’ for urban wildlife, which incorporate hidden cameras to capture video of visiting animals, will go on display at this year’s London Design Festival.
The habitats were created by researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London’s Interaction Research Studio as part of the My Naturewatch project, which encourages the public to document animals in their neighbourhood.
Built with wood, gourds, stones and other natural and human-made materials, the ‘Nature Scenes’ act as shelters, climbing frames and feeding stations for small mammals, insects and birds, while also concealing low-cost recording equipment.
Designed to also be attractive to the human eye, the small-scale sets or ‘still lifes’ use materials which are often considered waste by humans, and acknowledge that the animal and human worlds are intertwined.
The 2019 London Design Festival runs from 14 – 22 September, with Nature Scenes installed outdoors in Brompton with other animal habitats, all selected for exhibition as examples of innovative material research, architecture and technology.
Across the week, Nature Scenes will hang from trees or nestle in undergrowth, capturing footage of small visitors to Brompton’s Alexander Square Gardens East.
The concealed cameras are an open-source design, meaning that anyone can construct and use one to collect their own footage, while Nature Scenes frames are also designed to inspire similar DIY projects.
Coinciding with the installation, the My Naturewatch team have created a wildlife themed ‘occupation’ of the Hour Glass Pub, Brompton Road. Reinterpreting pub paraphernalia with an animal twist, the premise is a role reversal for humans and animals.
Goldsmiths design researcher Naho Matsuda says: “The capture of footage enabled by My Naturewatch cameras allows a human audience to tune in to the intimate and often unseen lives of local wildlife. Witnessing animals going about their daily lives, feeding, washing, resting, unencumbered by human presence creates a deeper sense of empathy for our local wildfire and blurs the boundaries between us and them.”
Find out more about Brompton Biotopia at londondesignfestival.com/event/brompton-biotopia
Find out more about My Naturewatch at mynaturewatch.net/