Accepted Paper:

SatNav for wolves: designing animal operated devices to rethink wildlife management  


Clemens Driessen (Wageningen University)

Paper short abstract:

Building on existing devices and systems to track, monitor, optimize, control and confine wildlife, the product line launched here provides more user friendly tools for wild animals to navigate Anthropocenic landscapes and help them negotiate forms of living with others, including humans.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation launches a range of technological devices that aim to further the self-management of wildlife. Wild animals have come under increasingly stringent biopolitical control, with the use of technologies from barbed wire to wireless movement trackers, and from GPS controlled shock collars to DNA monitoring. These technologies have produced animal spaces that restrict migration and movement, scripting 'fortress' style conservation by zoning areas and excluding humans and wildlife from each other's spaces, entrenching a land-sparing rather than land-sharing model of conservation.

The Captivator3000(cc) product line aims instead to interface our rapidly changing natural world to the organisms that daily have to deal with changing habitats shaped by humans and their technologies. It includes a SatNav system for wolves to navigate traffic and locate potential mates, a wifi-detector to make humans vacate areas where bears intend to wander, and a decision support system to help trees deal with climate change.

Captivator3000(cc) will allow wild individuals and collectives to subvert physical and digital infrastructures which thus far have been exclusively oriented towards human control of space. These experimental designs facilitate processes of mutual adaptation and learning, mediating more-than-human communal living.

The ultimate aim of this series of design interventions is to provide a set of adaptable platforms actively co-shaped by wild users, thus to promote a hacker culture to take root in hybrid ecological communities. Thereby investigating the biopolitics that may emerge with these new technologies that equip wildlife with new forms of mediated and enhanced wildness.

Panel T060
Biodiversity by other (all?) means: a theatre for post-natural futures