Post-Social:Towards Design Beyond the Human
Jonas Voigt

This body of research is questioning why designers operate on the assumption that humans should naturally be given primacy over non-human actors in design processes. It is based on the argument that human-centered design, the predominantly existing paradigm in the disciplines of design, has led to many social challenges and environmental changes humanity has to face.

Due to anthropocentric climate change, the relationships between humans and their environment has become unbalanced. This influenced multi-scalar levels of societies. The border of nature and culture is becoming obsolete, as the interconnectedness of humans and everything else has to be considered in decision-making processes (as well as in design practices).

On a practical side, Iā€™m interested in trees, as Eduardo Kohn, Peter Wohlleben, and Suzanne Simard pointed out, that Forests Think. They communicate, have social systems through mycorrhizal fungi, they are sensitive to predators and share knowledge in decentralized networks of their roots. It argues for a consideration of more inclusive perspectives. What are the implications of this claim for our understandings of what it means to be human and design in a world that extends beyond us?

Becoming Tree is the first experimentation of a series. The ecological term of symbiosis describes an interaction between dissimilar organisms living together in a more or less intimate association. The two organisms ā€” birds and trees ā€” are nearly inseparable. This research explores modes of attention and interactions. Learning to listen to the non-human, in paying very close attention to voices talking in our surrounding environments, is the focus. Accepting that humans are currently limited by speech, language, and our very cognition, the project explores what happens to human politics when we attend to other voices.

Current research is being documented on are.na. Please find more information on www.jonas-voigt.com.