Transmedia storytelling that explores possible future interactions of organic and synthetic life. Across the mediums of illustration, animation, and kinetic sculpture, the project speculates a future where humans and machines coexist in the wild.
The term umwelt translates as the environment. However, umwelt is also a concept discussed by Jakob von Uexkull (1934); that all entities have a unique subjective experience of living and perceiving their worlds.
In our more than human world, this project uses the concept of umwelt as a tool for designing autonomous systems that move away from anthropomorphism.
Our story begins in Hackney Wick, where a group of counterculture rebels had an idea to create machines to rewild the city. These machines would feed off sunlight, self-organise and live in social groups. The rebels built Jada, who started to mirror human gestures, as a form of perspective-taking.
Here is their manifesto:
It’s time to move away from anthropomorphism! We aim to exceed the preconceived connection between anthropomorphism and the notion of life.
We will create machine animacy by embracing kinematic restraints.
Our machines will mirror human gestures as a form of perspective-taking. In the hope, this builds new interactions between humans and machines.
We will use the concept of ‘umwelt’ (self-centred world) to investigate alternative perspectives, namely that of the machine, and reveal the paradox of how humans can go beyond their reality and design from a non-human perspective.
Sustainability is at our core. All machines are a modular kit of parts to be resued.
In 2047 Rebel Rewild machines were released in Wick Woods, Hackney, and have been increasing biodiversity in the surrounding areas successfully.