Kia ora, my name is Birgit Bachler and this is a work in progress lab notebook of my PhD research project “Materialising a more-than-human Internet of Things”. I am looking how we can use technology to help us reconnect with often lost and forgotten urban streams. I currently work with Papawai Stream in Mount Cook/Wellington and try to find ways of connecting with both the visible waters of Papawai reserve, as well as the hidden waters in the stormwater pipes of the Wellington water network.  As an artist, designer and researcher I am fascinated by the rich narratives embedded in New Zealand ecologies and exploring the connections and interfaces between land, water, humans and technology.

Please find a tentative version of my thesis abstract below:

How can artists and designers learn from the more-than-human world when building networked media? This research departed from the concept of an Internet of Things as a means to give voice to non-human ‘things’ and tentatively proposes avenues to shift focus from human-centred to a more-than-human-centred design paradigm. With a focus on wai/water, this project imagines novel ways of understanding and (re-) connecting with disconnected streams, their communities and their ecosystems in Pōneke/Wellington Aotearoa/New Zealand. The research narrative is presented in a combination of written word and audio-visual materials to make the many voices recorded during the lab- and fieldwork heard. The thesis proposes ways of acknowledging and engaging with local knowledges to inform art and design research.