Image: Moving sheep over rolling brown hills, in search of fresh grass during a drought in the Nelson region.
My research projects range from investigations of public conflicts about native wildlife conservation and farm animal welfare, to my ongoing work exploring the kinds of relationships people have with sheep.
Over the past ten years I’ve visited dozens of field sites in NZ, including commercial and hobby farms, livestock events and shearing competitions, research laboratories and universities, industry conferences and trade shows, farm sanctuaries, abattoirs and rendering plants.
I’m currently pulling these experiences together, and experimenting with different ways of writing and story-telling.
Before that, I completed a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden-funded research and design project, Counting Sheep: NZ Merino In An Internet of Things, that re-created my fieldwork as speculative design propositions.
Image: Sensors in Papawai stream, Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.
In my research, I investigate emergent media and the ways contemporary technologies continuously create, shape and manipulate networks between humans and non-humans, electronic data and their environments.
As part of my creative practice, I build experimental networks, often combining new and obsolete media technology with custom-built hardware and software.
As part of my PhD research I have explored how Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can be designed to give a voice to the more-than-human world of Wellington’s mostly subterranean streams.
Notes from my fieldwork and lab development can be found on my blog lab.wildthings.io.
Madelena Mañetto Quick
Image: Shot from a GoPro mounted on Lucy, a Large Black pig.
My research centres on animals and the stories we tell about them. I am also interested in activism and spaces for public debate and discussion.
A few years ago I completed my Masters project, Pigs in Cyberspace: A Design & Culture Exploration of NZ Farming. This featured an ethnographic look at the ways farmers tell stories about their animals through social media.
Since then I have been increasingly interested in this research space and decided to keep exploring it through further academic study.
My current PhD research project investigates the ways that farm animal sanctuaries can embody concrete attempts at “utopian” world-building. This involves reading fictional narratives on utopia, doing ethnographic research, and conducting experiments in visual storytelling and speculative design.
Image: Asian Small-Clawed otters at Wellington Zoo.
I was first introduced to the world of more-than-human design in 2019’s Multispecies Design Ethnography course.
My group and I looked into wildlife conservation and human-otter relations. We carried out ethnographic research that later influenced our design; my favourite part was the hours spent observing the otters! Ever since I have been interested in multispecies ethnography and designing with animals.
I’m starting my Masters research project this year, and I’m interested in learning what animals have to teach us, and exploring our interdependent relationships with them.
I approach my research with care, humility, and vulnerability to tell stories about these relationships through design.
“How monotonous our speaking becomes when we speak only to ourselves! And how insulting to the other beings…that no longer sense us talking to them, but only about them, as though they were not present in our world … For we talk about such entities only behind their backs, as though they were not participant in our lives. Yet if we no longer call out…then the numerous powers of this world will no longer address us – and if they still try, we will not likely hear them.”
— David Abram, Becoming Animal