[ISEA2018] Paper: Raune Frankjaer — Cyborganics: Engendering Sympoietic Experiences through Body-worn Digital Artifacts in a Rewilded City


Keywords: Insects, Cyborganics, Urban Space, Speculative Design, Craft, Nonhumans, Sympoieis, Wearables, Biodiversity, Digital-Material Story Telling.

Loss of biodiversity is posing an immense threat to the ecosystem, in particular the drastic decline in insect population endangers both the natural food-chain and crop production. In response to this development many cities have started rewilding efforts, aimed at increasing biodiversity. In this paper, I introduce and discuss the Urban Cyborganics project, which makes these nonhuman urban spaces available to human perception and experience through sensing technology, online connectivity and haptic output. As a speculative design project, the Cyborganic concept presents a fictitious nature-humanmachine hybrid, deployed as a form of material and experiential storytelling. Leaning on Haraway’s notion of sympoeisis, i.e. becoming-with and making-kin, the device emulates an insectlike perception of the urban landscape, prompting a change in perception of the city space and promotes a re-evaluation of how we align ourselves with other species in a built habitat. Building on Fernandez- Armesto and Ingold, I discuss the act of creation, of both cities and artifacts, as an ongoing negotiation between humans and the material agencies embedded in the environment. Lastly, I examine the Cyborganic in relation to traditional and indigenous practices.

  • Raune Frankjaer holds an M.A. in Spatial Interaction Design and is currently a doctoral candidate in Digital Design and Information Studies at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her research on sympoietic technology centers on non-anthropocentric applications of information and communication technologies, with a particular focus on crafts, interactive digital artifacts and haptic bodyworn interfaces. Her work has been presented in Germany, Denmark, Colombia, U.S., Australia and Hong Hong. Raune is the recipient of several awards, most recently the prestigious Elite Research from the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science.

Full text p. 163 – 169