Design Trust Seed Grant

H.O.S.T. (Harboring Organisms, Sharing Tensions)

H.O.S.T. (Harboring Organisms, Sharing Tensions) proposes the sensible recovery of human urine, both for use as plant fertilizer and as diagnosis medium for more-than-human health. It implicates urban dwellers with alternative realities – emotions, insights, competences – to revalue our biophysical interdependency. Common responses to our planetary crisis come in categories like ‘ecosystem services’ or ‘natural resources’. Such managerial responses squarely originate from within authoritarian viewpoints that put distance between the human and nonhuman, so as to calculate this relation as a grand total. H.O.S.T. is a micro-social proposition from within everyday life focused on personal enablement, inclusiveness and versatility. Exploring more symbiotic forms of urbanization we become adapt-able in a rapidly destabilizing world.

Markus Wernli and Sarah Daher are both from MAD TALES, a multidisciplinary design collective where social action, craft and bio-materiality meet and interplay. Wernli is researching through design, that is, with an embodied practice that questions ways of sensing, acting, and knowing, through the social enactment of what is normally understood as the discomforting or unchangeable. He is investigating the intrinsic human role in material and energy cycles as a way to renegotiate the artificial delineations between rural and urban, nature and culture, growth and decay. Markus is a PhD candidate with the Urban Environment Lab at Hong Kong PolyU.

Daher’s design practice explores the future relationships between humans, plants and technology. Through her practice she questions the ingrained cultural and philosophical values that define our relationship with vegetation, where scientific research and traditional knowledge complement each other. Her aim is to trigger our imagination to perceive plants as intelligent beings that we can collaborate with to stimulate social and environmental changes.