Jen Yoohyun Lee used GiGL partnership data within her Design and Environment MA at Goldsmiths. Jen’s work focuses on relationships between the human-designed urban environment and its non-human component, questioning attitudes to non-human nature in urban design and space.
Jen was interested in the idea of human awareness, or lack thereof, of the wildlife around them. To highlight the ubiquitous nature of information about human presence in contrast to the sometimes indifferent, or negative, attitude to ‘non-human residents’ of the capital, Jen created a directory or telephone book for animals.
GiGL’s mammal dataset was chosen to underpin the directory and GiGL provided Jen with the numbers of records of various mammal species reported within Greater London per population area. Jen used her fine arts background to design and hand make a pocket-sized directory listing and illustrating the neighbourhoods where each animal had been reported.
Jen also developed a novel way of engaging people with the non-human elements of their urban surroundings designing an audio walk from Waterloo to Southwark stations. During this walk, the participant winds through some back streets and is accompanied by a mouse narrator. Scenes along the route are cleverly compared to the equivalent ‘mouse-view’ using a portable slide viewer.
At the end of 2011, members of the GiGL team tried out Jen’s interactive walk. It was a fun lunchtime stroll, but it also helped us to see familiar surroundings in a new way, making us consider people’s attitudes to wildlife when it’s not contained in a nature reserve. For GiGL, it was also great to see biodiversity data being used within an arts study, as well as the more usual science programmes.
You can read more about Jen’s project on her website.