Julian Rutten, The University of Swinburne
Sydney 2018: Issues, people and publics

With the production of novel ecosystems, the future will require the management of natural resources whilst reconciling the loss of less artificial habitats. This research explores the potential for interactive and embedded technologies to meaningfully engage citizens with contemporary ecosystems and ecological processes. Working collaboratively between ecologists, designers and engineers this research explores new methods useful for ecological restoration.

The most challenging aspect of an ecological restoration site is understanding and measuring the unique combination of social, technical, natural, and political arrangements. Distributed sensors, machine learning algorithms, and community engagement enhance our ability to understand the complexity that occurs at a local scale. This session displays a prototype for this new method of capturing information of complex systems and addresses the need to mobilise a community.

As a product of this ongoing research, this session will exhibit a distributed network of sensors connected to an interactive visualisation. This interactive visualisation will be a mobile application for participants to download and test and produced through inexpensive remote sensors meshed together with real-time signal processing. This work, within the broader research agenda, explores what qualities of a sense-of-place are possible through tele-present technologies, asking what does it mean to be in-place within the technosphere?

The visualisation utilises the embodiment of participants that extends a visual ethnography research method that involves in-situ participant observation, interviews, video, audio, and data recording. The project contributes to STS research by combining communities of practice and developing new methods of research that incorporate local and community engagement.