This creative research thesis proposes, develops and examines the efficacy of an embodied participatory research methodology to elicit experiential and imaginative encounters within suburban human-nonhuman cohabitation. Grounded in a home and garden in suburban Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, it engages practical and imaginative strategies to reframe the mundane interactions of suburban life as a site of complex human-nonhuman interrelationship and radical entanglement.
This enquiry is grounded, physically and philosophically, in the experimental research project of transitioning my suburban home into a multi-species domestic hub. From this site of interaction, the following research guidelines coalesce: to consciously suspend my accultured anthropocentric ways of knowing in my research activities and interactions; to engage with active and responsive care and acknowledge the agency of others, human, animal, vegetal and mineral; to wait attentively for possible modes of human-nonhuman attunement to emerge. These terms of engagement underpin creative research that attends, slowly and with care to multi-entity interactions and agentic interplays, interweaving domestic cohabitation, immersive video installation, participatory dwelling-spaces and dialogic events, and engaging with domestic space, gallery, conference and festival.
This research is in equal measure philosophical, practical, and located within art practice. Consequently, this thesis selectively draws on aspects of philosophical posthumanism (Latour, Haraway), New Materialism (Barad; Bennett), Object-Oriented Ontology (Harman, Morton), Affective Ecology (Greyson) and social aesthetics (Born et al). It proposes modes for working-with things across a spectrum of activities and small gestures (Hannula), from gallery-based installations to interventions within the suburban home and garden. These research strands are brought into conversation with historical and contemporary participatory and experiential art practices (Bishop, Kwon, Weintraub) to bring into focus a multimodal and multi-entity research enquiry located within Aotearoa, New Zealand.