The‘Bat/Human Problem’ is the second of five ‘Labs’ within the two year REMNANT/EMERGENCY Artlab project – a team of creatives working with the broad aim of promoting environmental research and development projects that pursue “radical creative processes” that are “flexible to outcomes that cannot be predicted in advance”.
The Sydney ‘Lab’ is a participatory project that highlights a tragic clash between two urban dwelling species – the vulnerable Grey Headed Flying Foxes who inhabit the Sydney Botanical Gardens – and humans. Both species ultimately depend on each other for extensive ecological functions and secure habitat. Despite this co-dependence – early next year the bats, which roost in Sydney Botanical Gardens, will be forcibly removed.
What can we learn from this clash of two worlds? What might a heightened understanding of our unrecognised dependency teach us about the future of interspecies relationships? How can we better ‘think-in’ urban habitats for Australian wildlife? Our Art lab project set out to address these central questions.
The project will incorporate a ten-day creative development period including stakeholder meetings and a public presentation in Cook and Phillip Park. These processes draw upon Natalie Jeremijenko’s established ‘X-Clinic ‘methods whereby ‘impatients’ (those too impatient to wait for others to make environmental change) join a participatory design process to work towards improved environmental outcomes. In this case the public are invited to carry out some of the ecosystem services that could be lost along with the bats, including tree pollination and efficient re-seeding of native forests. They may also commit to learning more about bats by experiencing ‘bat flight’ (on our 85 metre long flying fox). The public event will be in Cook and Phillip Park, Sydney CBD on November 28th between 2 and 8pm (venue and details tbc).
The REMNANT/EMERGENCY Artlab has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body in collaboration with QUT Creative Industries, the UTS Research Centre for Contemporary Design Practices and Human-Centred Technology Design, the Participatory Design Conference (PDC 2010), the Australian Research Council, Artspace Sydney and many others.
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS
A/Prof Natalie Jeremijenko, New York University, Dr. Keith Armstrong, Senior Research Fellow, QUT Creative Industries, Professor Tony Fry, Design Futures, Griffith University, James Muller, Leah Barclay, Tega Brain, Kirsty Boyle and Ilka Nelson, collaborating in Sydney with by Dr. Lian Loke, and Dr. Lizzie Muller of UTS.
WORKSHOP/EVENT DATES & DETAILS FOR ARTLAB (LAB 2 SYDNEY)
17th- 29th Nov: Team Development Process
18th – 20th Nov: Stakeholder Workshop & Prescription Design, Artspace
28th Nov: Public Engagement/Mobile Clinic, Sydney CBD, t.b.c.
30th Nov: PDC 2010 ‘Take Part’ workshop, 1pm
30th Nov: Exhibition Floor talk – 5pm, Launch 6-8, UTS Gallery, X.