Next event:
ERINN SAVAGE – Performance
Tomorrow 15:00 GMT

The Habitat Education and Restoration Agency (H.E.R.A.)

The Habitat Education and Restoration Agency (H.E.R.A.) draws attention to how our environment influences our behavioural habits and makes a statement that wellbeing and future thinking should no longer be a luxury. This speculative system is placed in a preferable future within an area between the urban and the rural, called the Sustainable Belt, dedicated to educating the population on sustainable and symbiotic living. The selection of artefacts makes up a personalised introductory kit for newcomers to the Sustainable Belt. In a tangible manner, it manifests the identity of the traveller and becomes a support mechanism throughout their stay.

With the move to a self-sufficient sustainable environment, H.E.R.A. aims to shift people’s understanding and relationships with their land. As a future vision of sustainable work practice on a micro and macro level, it puts the responsibility of creating a healthier landscape on each individual across society. This environmental structure could be implemented around every major city and would engage each citizen through an obligatory service, along with a possibility of gradually revisiting the compounds throughout their life. Through habitual practice, H.E.R.A. aims to strengthen and restore the lost connection to our landscape.

Driven to create an environmental heritage through rituals, I began drafting scenarios of a preferable future and asking 'what kind of world would we want to live in'? Critical discussions with sustainable development experts accentuated the fact that wellbeing and future thinking is a luxury that is not affordable for many, especially in the Global South. The aim of the project was to then make sustainable practice and knowledge accessible to all; ultimately making it a societal value.

At the developmental stage of the project, I have explored with various system mapping techniques to contextualise the proposal of the H.E.R.A. system. 3D pop up maps were an effective design tool for engaging and testing the user journey with the Sustainable Futures of Africa (SFA) network. By physically allowing experts to go through the matrix, they gradually explored how participants would transfer to the new environment, and have their profile run through Hera, an AI that then proposed suitable activities based on their skills, strengths and individualities.

By giving each citizen the chance to devote a stage of their lifetime to the Sustainable Belt, this government-funded organisation shows how an environmentally conscious mindset could spread across society. The project aims to equip and empower people to gain and grow their ecological knowledge and develop sustainable habitual behaviour that then can impact their local communities. The pictured H.E.R.A. application acts as a progress journal, archiving all data and materials gathered throughout the completed activities and workshops; acting as a memoir of the stay, with accessible expertise knowledge that participants can build on.


IO is a speculative project inspired by the Japanese notion of Ma (間), defined as ‘in-betweenness’, ‘negative space’ or ‘time-space’, and proposes an experiential response to the modern fast-paced society. Its value lies in provoking and challenging society to re-think our relationship with time and societal expectations of meeting the ever-increasing speed instilled by modern economies. It envisions a future where ultimately technology is the last resource for stimulating an introspective hiatus. IO becomes a new form of public-facing intelligence, designed to create an unexpected moment of in-betweenness and reflection, by creating a one-off emotional connection with a stranger initiated by facial recognition and shaped by social data. This personalised Ma moment targets the overstimulated and inattentive, to disrupt the fast-paced rhythm of society.

IO takes place in a future scenario where technology becomes an all-round life companion. With new forms of intelligence introduced to understand and learn about its users, facial recognition becomes ubiquitous and socialising took on the form of 'separate togetherness’. Such alternative futures were created in the process of drawing out a spectrum of society's future responses to the tensions of fast-paced city life. Personas were curated based on emerging behavioural habits in interviewed stakeholders that identified as being negatively affected by the lifestyle, depended on technology for mental repose and were put into stress at the moment of inaction.

With the objective to explore how the metropolitan environment instils a draining rhythm, I decided to engage in the practice of flânerie and explore how psychogeography can aid in gathering insights and design opportunities. While mapping my journey and taking documentation of my encounters, tensions and spontaneous moments of Ma, I came across this black panel guarding off a construction site; static on the background of the bustling city. This shocking juxtaposition enforced a sudden pause and contemplation, where ultimately I found myself in a spatial in-betweenness.

Challenging existing systems using ideologies that often take on relational meaning was difficult at first to imagine. Participatory methods of involving stakeholders in materialising this abstract concept became useful in contextualising Ma and exploring tangible interpretations. By provoking people to think in these abstractions, I was pleasantly surprised to observe 'Ma' becoming a new universal term and human value amongst my participants. Critical discussions with Japanese designers made me realise how momentous Ma is in Japanese everyday life and how it can be utilised for gaining a wider perspective.

With technological advances and work-focused lives, people have less time to reflect on their lives as they become dominated by the need to act, to be online, to deliver, which ultimately causes a desensitisation to our environment, a feeling of ennui and fragmented attention across society. Technology gave us the possibility to always be connected and never feel alone. The key value of IO is that it disrupts this preconceived notion by letting us be alone for a brief quiet moment and to just think about yourselves. It provokes a discussion surrounding existing societal norms, how those affect our wellbeing and how in relation the role of technology might change in the future.