The Ecological Self: Integrating Body Materials and Cycles into the Design Process

As the environmental crisis deepens, it becomes increasingly urgent to rethink the relationship between humans and their environment, and to develop an understanding that embraces ecological relationships and the interdependence of humans on and with nature.

Bridging critical theory from new materialism and critical posthumanism with practical making, the research project explores how our interdependence and entanglement with other species can be understood and practiced through design. Building on the theory of relational ontologies, a neo-materialist concept of ecology that includes biochemical processes as well as social and cultural practices is explored through the design method of critical making and an embodied approach.

By integrating bodily substances into the design process, for example by recycling phosphate and nitrogen from urine as fertiliser and thus turning the body into a resource, the research project shows how humans are connected to the environment and how they themselves can function as a regenerative link in ecological networks. In doing so, the project uses the body itself as an epistemic source, both in its material and experiential sense, linking body and planetary health and exploring how body literacy can lead to ecological literacy.

Incorporating practices such as DIY biology and bio-hacking, the project promotes a commons-based approach, advocating more inclusive, collaborative and open ways of creating, sharing and applying knowledge and resources.

Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost
Dr. Michelle Christensen
Dr. Florian Conradi

Ines Weigand

Project Partners:
Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society
Universität der Künste Berlin

Funded by:
Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society
Universität der Künste Berlin

tripadvisor flickr americanexpress bandcamp basecamp behance bigcartel bitbucket blogger codepen compropago digg dribbble dropbox ello etsy eventbrite evernote facebook feedly github gitlab goodreads googleplus instagram kickstarter lastfm line linkedin mailchimp mastercard medium meetup messenger mixcloud paypal periscope pinterest quora reddit rss runkeeper shopify signal sinaweibo skype slack snapchat soundcloud sourceforge spotify stackoverflow stripe stumbleupon trello tumblr twitch twitter uber vimeo vine visa vsco wechat whatsapp wheniwork wordpress xero xing yelp youtube zerply zillow px aboutme airbnb amazon pencil envelope bubble magnifier cross menu arrow-up arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right envelope-o caret-down caret-up caret-left caret-right