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The Zoo Manifesto Project rapport for the final project of the pilot year at CIID / DKDS.

Content : starting point : explorations : concept development : new direction : design solution The Zoo Manifesto The New Zoo : reflection : references attached; the Zoo Manifesto in pdf

Ane Eline Sørensen C I I D



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P ro c e s s O v e rv i e w In this project rapport, I will go through the major steps and turning points in my final project for the pilot year on CIID. The most characteristic thing about my project, is the turn of events half way through the project. I went from working for the zoo, to realizing I had to work against the zoo. It went from being a straight forward project about creating an addition to the existing zoo by contextualizing and enhancing peoples opportunity to learn more about the animals in the zoo, to be a big discussion on ethics not only in how the zoo should position itself in society but also as my role as a designer with a concrete stakeholder on the line. The only thing going through the project is my core value of wanting to work with the conveying of knowledge and it is because of a vigilant protection of this subject, that I had to go against my stakeholder the zoo.


J U LY 2 we e k s


Creating new value propositions for the zoo






ar ch






























kn le dg e

ti fie ng w ld i & th re u s t h e vie er zo c o w w re s o nc it ear a lud h M ch ra in i g at #2 m sed on t C ot id w s c de ay usis ont tma s k re i o n e x n t r v c o e s e i ew a b o a u nc rc wit t h the br ept h Jo ai ze zo ns dev ph o a Fo n d sk tor elo m ra ho pm et i ki w ch ng en s w in on t e g ch go de an th si er ge gn e o pr ch f ot ad al o le vi s k typ ng s or e t in e ch g in g br ai ns to rm in g on id ea s fo r th e w 10 ri ti st ng at em cr m an ea en ife ti ts ng s pr to i ot llu ot st yp ra w i n ti ri g on ti ng s fo st r pr ra m ot te an ot gy ife yp st in o g on de si m gn ic ro of pr ne oj w ec zo t o












8 9

Realising I cannot Creating critical design make addition for a platform for action against the zoo to the zoo but have to make foundations for a completely new zoo



J U N E 3 ,3 we e k s



Creating social interaction through augmented information for the zoo 6




Conveying knowledge in zoo context



MAY 2 we e k s 4











AU G U S T 2, 5 weeks


Creating an alternative to the existing zoo


Introduction The process for the final project started back in February with a short session to kick off our subconscious on possible subjects for the final project,


subject search

Merry my existing skills with the ones I wish to master. Have a confident standing point personally and professionelly when the project is finished. Create something meaningfull to me and the user. Help create awareness. Work on a clear problem. Create someting that affects peoples values. Create somthing tangible? Work with knowledge and enlightenment

Keywords Storytelling Drawing Video Visualization TUI’s Knowledge of culture and people Pervasive computing



s tat e m e n t

At the project set of in late april I defined my goal for the project. Defining my mission statement, my “Northern Star� was important to have someting to steer at. And it should stay the same throughout the process,

creat e ( A p lat f o r m f o r ac ti on th ro ug h ) dial og u e , know l ed g e s h a ri n g a nd narr at i v e e n v i ro n m e n t s .


S ta rt i n g


The initial starting point evolved around knowledge and the conveying of a certain content. My search and area was focused on a public space, where a public and varied audience was visiting a cultural urban context with a certain subject available. I wished to work with creating beautiful objects and experiences through tangible pieces and help people connect around gaining knowlegde. I thought of it as a wonderful journey through the subject to make people wonder, reflect and realize. Coming from a background in visual communication, I wanted to utilize my skills in creating visualizations and merry that with my accuired skills as an interaction designer. This meant I was thinking about working on a tanglible object with costumizable attributes that could enhance, centextualize and give depth to enlightenment. I set out to visit a lot of public spaces that had a rich content to work with. My focus was to examine how knowledge is being made accessible in exhibition spaces. I wanted to work with physical space and people interacting in it. Combining that with my strong wish to work with enlightening people, exhibition spaces seemed like a good place to start with. There you have a lot of content that needs to be communicated. You have visitors with different levels of interest and entry points in mind. I see interaction design as having great potential to customize peoples experience of seeking knowledge to their liking and interest. As far as I know, the interactive levels of conveying knowledge in Danish museums, galleries, experience centers and animal parks is very low so this sounded like a perfect challenge to me. 6


field research

2 days, 7 galleries, 5 museums, 3 experience parks. I have chosen a few to show my approach and analasys of the various places. I was looking for existing interactive solutions and generally how the palces would go about conveying knowledge and contenxt about their content. Fish on display

Very large fish in very small tank... ?

I decided not to do any desktop research on the subject before going out. I wanted to have a completely open mind and a clean slate to start from. So I just went with a notebook and a wish to get inspired.

The Aquarium

Slide the image to the left...

...and you get a little context for the squid

The aquarium was dissapointing. I had high expectations since I grew up fishing my way through summers and have traveled far to get to good diving spots. When I saw that the aquarium only was a row of -far too small?- fish tanks with little or no context, I got sad. The information was fairly good, but nothing out of the ordinary and seemed a little random. The place seemed old and run down. The issues for the aquarium seemes bigger than an interaction designer can solve, it needs a total rebuild. The space is very static and limited, and not so inspiring to try to attack. The good news is that a new aquarium is being build, it will be placed on the beach front in Amager and it looks like the architects have thought carefully about both context, audience experience and fish welfare. I look forward to that opening in some years time.

A grandfather helping his grandchild to press a button. Lit up displays gave you some context and knowledge


Museums & Galleries I went to several museums and galleries. The experience was generally very traditional and the same in all the places: a 2D experience and somewhat flat. You just stand in front of the painting or the object and that’s it. But is that enough? Is there an opportunity to put the paintings into context? And extend the experience into the space? Would that change anything for the better?

Neo-classical style at The Hirschsprung Collection

I shadowed people a lot and it was interesting to see that if there was a group they were very engaged in talking and hearing someone in the group tell more about the artist, the style and the technique, but also a lot about context; the period, political influences, geographical influences a.s.o. as well as anything trivia concerning the objects/paintings. The places themself did not offer this information. But the interest was clearly present. Top floor at Gl. Strand.

Journey through fossils at the National 8 Museum. Impressive exhibition place!

Why going?

Artrebels exhibition on human trafficking in the meat district. Appropriate context!

There is a big question I have to ask: why do people go to art exhibitions in the first place? Are they conscious about why? Am I? Do we go on a feeling of it being a nice thing to do? Is it a specific wish to research something? Is it our cultural setting that has taught us that it is part of being a good citizen? Or is it something much deeper where humans connect to art on a archetypical layer and understand oneself much better through experiencing art? Maybe a little of everything? No matter what, it is interesting to possibly enter these thoughts into a physical outcome and a design solution. How can I then think about context in traditional art exhibition spaces?

The Danish Skagens Painters making portraits of everyday life. Can I use this?

Paintings tell a lot of stories. About a state of mind, a landscape, an event, a situation, an idea, a feeling, a scenario. Realistic or a complete abstraction. The choice of motif, the use of colour, style and expression tell us about the contemporary context in society for the period. It tells us about the beliefs and the life of the painter. Is it these stories that I should contextualize, edit, tell and let people interact with?

A room for getting to know more.

You could browse through some brochures on the table and read some text on the walls. It was a little difficult to figure out what you actually could gain from looking into the exhibition. It didn’t seem inviting to me.


S u mm a r i z i n g When I go to art exhibitions I wish to understand and I wish to feel. I hope to get enriched and inspired, I hope to get provoked and I want to get wiser. Though sometimes it seems like you have to crack a lot of codes to understand what you are in front of. I won’t get into a long discussion on this subject, then I can be here forever, but let it be said that I like it when art is challenging and someone’s vision or reflection on how we live our lives. My focus here is not art itself, but the experience of looking at it. How we meet art now is very static and does not necessary reflect how we approach our lives these days. We are seeing the tip of the iceberg of customized living, where the internet plays a big role as our portal to our world and our choices in life. This way of thinking, does that apply to how we should/would like to navigate an exhibition? Would we like to have a more customized exhibition experience, where it is possible to interact with the pieces at display from your personal preferences and questions? Is it possible to create an interactive dialogue between the guests and the art? Between the curated content and your personal context? Can my entry point to the exhibition reflect what I want to know and help me get a journey that suits me best?

Typical way to give information and context. On Akseli Gallen-Kallela, finnish painter.

Fluxus exhibition at the Nicolai Church. Exactly as accessible as fluxus itself...

It is clear to me that this is a need in the exhibition spaces I went to. Interaction design could very well offer solutions to this, the question is if this should be my focus right now.

10 Unfortunately you could not actually do this yourself. But was that really the point? fluxus...

The Zoo Another interesting context to explore as a “knowledge touchpoint� is the Zoo. Going to the Zoo is a nice mixture of recreation and education, and I found people to be very engaged in watching and talking about the animals. Like with the museums, I ask myself why do people go to the zoo? It seems to be an activity on a both subconscious and conscious level. It is evident that it is by far more emotional to go to the zoo than going to a museum or an art exhibition. But why is it so? Is it the same kinesthetic energy we react to when going to the theater? The animals are living beings in front of us and we react to that very differently than to a screen, painting or a dead object. Is it something instinctive where we activate some hidden corners of our brain that are connected to the days when we had to live side by side with the animals and live in the wild ourselves? If I choose the Zoo as a context, this is something I will explore much further. Again, I observed people and looked for interactive elements in the exhibitions. I was there for three hours. There was place in particular that I found to be very interesting. The Tropical Zoo is a building where they have made a small rain forest and where the birds and butterflies fly around freely. But there was very little possibility to get to know more or to find out what animal you were looking at. There were no stories or context about any of animals in the toipical zoo. The room in itself gave you a sense of context by replicating some what the natural habitat of the animals. With the animals roaming around freely, it made you want to stick around for a longer time to spot birds or butterflies and to see what they were up to. I heard a lot of questions and some attempts of answers. The kids were very curious with a lot of comments and questions. The animal and the typical sign.


I overheard the following conversation between a grandmother and her grandchild – around 9 years old. The kid asked, “why do they like dandelions?” the grandmother answered ” I like dandelions, you can use them in a salad!” I am sure the grandmother answered to her best abilities, and I think they had a really nice contact and interaction between them, but she didn’t really answer the question. The same kid asked a lot of questions about the animals and the answers were always somewhat off. The grandmother didn’t know anything about the animals which is completely fair, but she didn’t have any place to look for answers either. There were no elaborate explanations to find about either the animals or the context they were from. There were some signs with the name and origin of the animal. Does that satisfy the needs of the audience?

Turtles eating dandelions in the rain forest

List of the birds flying around you

A single sign to twirl to study what butterflies were in the space

But what is this guy for instance doing? Is it eating the banana? I heard three people wonder aboutTropical this. birds in the branches - not sure which ones though...


I tried to spot the sloth for at long time, no such luck. That felt kind of good!

You slide the red piece and the red folio filters the light so that you see the drawings underneath revealing what I believe to be context for the turtle at the given time.

Side view of the interactive slider piece

The positive aspect of the tropical zoo, was the sensation and illusion of being in the birds own habitat. They were all around and above you which was exciting. The denseness of the vegetation, the heat and the mist being sprayed repetitively made the illusion strong. I reckon the situation for the birds weren’t all that bad, which plays a big part in me enjoying it, since I tend to get a stomach ache from watching animals in cages. I was free to enjoy it. Then I, and the kids, started to wonder, which bird just made that noise, what kind is that bird up there, where does it come from, what’s it like where they come from, are they all friends, do they all live together in peace here, what about their food – how do they get it, what do they eat, do they breed here, that one looks funny – why does it look like that… a.s.o… The only interactive part of the rain forest that I could find was a piece on the wall where you could learn a little about the turtles. No one was using it for the period I was in there though. Nevertheless I found it to be a pretty cute thing.

A schoolgirl was wondering where the huge snake (a big Indian Python) lived, it was lying behind glass in a big see-through tree. So she concluded that the flag shown on the sign was where the snake was from. The teacher didn’t react.


After leaving the rain forest, there was a small photo exhibition on people living in the rain forest. I was the only one looking at it. No one seemed to look in that direction. Maybe because it was placed in a corner in a kind of hallway. Walking further on, you could see context about the rain forest. A display showed an educational selection of products that we can relate to that stems from the resources of the rain forest. Display of the people of the rain forest.

Dimensions of the display.

Here you can compare your own size to a life-size silhouette of a leather back turtle. Simple and effective, but a little lost on a dark floor?

Explaining rainforest context with a sustainability message. Wellknown products we can thank the rain forest for. In this display they compared forest types in Denmark with the rain forest. There is a big difference between the ecosystems. Unfortunately this little visualization was the only one of its kind in the exhibition. I thought it too be a great claryfier and a good starting point to get to know a lot more. 14

In this visualization, your get to know what the general characteristics of a rain forest is and how it is spread around the world. It was in a corner in a hallway with mess around it and the empty pedestal in front of it took away from the focus. You didn’t feel like you were supposed to give it any attention. Scary facts about the rapid devastation of rainforests.

the wall being examined.

This little guy is checking out his options

In a messy corner you could see how the rain forests circle the earth around equator.

Peek through some holes, and get the answer to the question written on the front.


The rest of the zoo had varying levels of interaction opportunities and/or knowledge touch-points. Here is a short list of the ones that I could find. You would see some signs about how the Zoo is actually being run. In this interactive sign, you could learn about the diet of the animals. turn the wheel to see what animal eat what kind of food. The story is about how the zoo keepers make sure the right food goes to the right animals. In case of the tiger, there was a very weather beaten exhibition about how the tiger is endangered. The windows were hardly see-through and the exhibited tiger products and Chinese medicine were bleached by the sun. Kids were asked to contribute to the exhibition by drawing a picture of a tiger.

"Turn a menu"

In 2009 a new house for the elephants opened. Norman Foster designed it and it shows the level of ambitions in the Zoo in regards to animal welfare, context, enlightenment, entertainment and interaction opportunities.

The new elephant house

A mirror in the primate section, a clever play with words to display how humans are linked to primates.

Try to be as curious as the monkey

Exhibition on man’s complete disrespect for and exploitation of tigers in the wild.

Childrens drawings of the tiger.


Shadowing people meant registering what they did and how they reacted to what they saw. I regestered by sketching, writing notes and taking photographs with my mobile phone. I some cases where the animals were fed, it drew a big crowd and I had plenty of time to observe, sketch and note how they reacted. For instance in the case of the leopard to the left, people gathered around and the kids were making a lot of noise up until the very moment when the leopard jumped to get the meat. As soon as the leopard got to the meat, the crowd dissolved and moved on. There was a sensation of “wow� going through the crowd in the moment of the jump, and I noted the engagement of this emotion.


The Zoo is of course not only about learning and using your brain contextualizing and understanding stuff, but also about just enjoying watching the animals. It was obvious that it the zoo is a very social pastime.





The Zoo is a place for everybody. Kids, parents, teenagers, lovers, grandparents, schools – a lot of different constellations and interest points. Apart from a few elderly people just hanging out, the majority were there with someone else in a typical set of parents/ kids, grandparents/kids grouping. School outings also seemed to be popular. There was a constant dialogue between the visitors. Dialogue with a total focus on what they saw and experienced. There seemed to be a great interest to share and get knowledge. Though, I overheard many more unanswered questions and unmet thoughts than the opposite. Do the grown-ups wish they were able to explain better? Do the kids feel heard? And what about the knowledge the kids have? Having said that, I also think that going to the Zoo is not all about learning about the animals, it’s also very much about the dialogue and contact between the visitors. If your granddad tells you some crazy story about some exotic animal, in my book, that would be awesome too. It doesn’t need to be correct, but if you want it to be, it should be easy to access the knowledge. With these conclusions, focusing on interaction between the visitors seem obvious.



from initial fieldwork

I went out with a wish to find a context where I could focus on working with communicating knowledge interactively. It should fill my wish to sharpen my abilities to edit within a context. For the design solution I had a wish to have a context where I could explore tangible visuality and to work with spaces and objects to create something beautiful. I wanted to help create a situation where people could get enriched in an exhibition or similar "knowledge touchpoint" The final goal was to offer people a journey and make them wonder and think. After my excursions to exhibition spaces, I found many design opportunities, but nowhere as needed as in the zoo. They had a clear need for something that would help people learn more about the animals and their context. Also I felt people being far more engaged than any of the other places. I have chosen the zoo as my context also because it’s a place of rich content where I can explore and play around with a good (learning) experience. On a personal level, I feel strongly about the preservation of wild life, and I am deeply interested in the meeting point between human and nature. I believe humans can get a far more meaningful life if we remember to interact with and experience nature. I wonder whether I should think about the theory behind learning in a spatial/auditive/tangible way and how aesthetics and "beauty" can be used as an effective tool to edit and communicate content. Can I make something that creates a beautiful dialogue with the user to such a degree that it leaves people feeling fulfilled and enlightened? This is a high ambition, but nevertheless a reflection of my strong personal interest and something where I see interaction design as being a possible very good tool for experiencing/learning.

Thinking about creating dialogue, knowledge sharing, obser vation tools and narrative environments. I am not sure whether I wish to work with kids or adults, it could be either, - or both, it depends on the contexts and insights I do in the explorations. I am also not sure where I am between “learning” and “experience” I hope to figure this out in the process to come. The solution at that point was complelety open ended. It could be a handheld tactile device, networked objects, an interactive book, a kiosk, an exhibition, an exhibition in the exhibition, a piece of mobile software, a service design project. All this was depending on my findings in the development phase. The plan was to start with the context, state the problem and from that create solution/s. In other words, the intention was to do what needs to be done to really broaden out peoples visit to the Zoo. I want my thesis to be a reflection of my future profile as an interaction designer and it will therefore be a conglomerate of my skills as a visual communication designer, my past as a film maker and as a kaospilot and project maker. My interests and passions will hopefully drive my work. 19

Desk research on existing interactive solutions in zoos After concluding on using the zoo as my context, I did research on interactive solutions in the zoos all over the world. Here is a selection from that research and the important things I took away from that. I was looking for gestural and tangible interactivity, and I was curious to see if I could find augmented reality put to good use.

In many cases, something interactive in the Zoo means interacting directly with the animals, like petting zoo’s where you pet horses, goats, pigs and in the more exotic zoo’s would be petting snakes, monkeys and crocodiles. Most Zoo’s offer this type of interaction:

On that note I was interested to see more about the remote visits. And generally there are a lot of “Zoo-cams” out there; web cameras with live feed from the exhibitions. To me, these web cams have little or no value at all. The positioning and quality of the cameras makes it extremely boring to watch. Most of the time, you don’t see any animals, and if you do, it’s a tiny blob with no distinction or feel to it. When you are physically present, you can smell, closely observe and feel the presence of the animal.

Some projects with interactive elements to the zoo suggest remote zoo visits. As in the example of Cleveland zoo, USA, they use video conference technology to give kids who not easily can visit the zoo a chance to learn about the animals anyway. The interaction happens with a program presenter, specialized in distance learning, who is teaching about the animals and the kids get to ask questions during the session. The kids seem to react well to it, they say it’s like watching TV. I wonder how the experince is different from being present in front of the physical animal?

Screenshots from around the globe:


Mostly interactivity lies in the websites for the zoos. Generally the websites had planning tools and the larger zoos tend to have more knowledge about the animals and games for children to play. I have taken out a few examples of how it is typically done. An example of an interactive map, is the Miami Metro Zoo, where they have focused on the planning part of the visit and provided an interactive map where you can navigate the zoo and prepare you with a little knowledge about the animals before you go. It is nicely done. A weird thing is that you are able to move around the artifacts around the map with no function attached. I like that they included some of the special flora from the exhibitions.

I came across a simple flash game that I really liked. Here you build a habitat and see how selected animals would thrive in that place. You can also see how humans react to the same places. The game is very simple and exemplifies the idea beautifully, and I am thinking that it could be an idea to develop this further and think in a Spore like direction where you learn from the consequences of the animals you build and the habitats they were to live in.

The Brookfield Zoo in Chicago has an online game where you find your way through an African rain forest with local kids. It puts the animals in their context and natural habitat, which has a lot of potential. Sadly, the game is very annoying, you get stuck in a lot of unnecessary choice making and you end up leaving the game before finishing.


S u mm a r i z i n g

desk research

Clearly the major part of interactivity in the zoos are still in the “traditional” form of webbased interactivity. The level of behavioral or gestural interaction in the actual zoos are according to my research on an absolute minimum. I heard rumors that San Diego zoo, a privatly owned zoo, has a certain degree of visualizations connected to the exhibition. Nowhere did I find any evidence of augmented information.

How might I;

Design Challenge As I said in the conclusion about the zoo, focusing on interaction between the visitors seem obvious.

“Through dialogue and interpersonal interaction help guests observe, experience, relate to and learn about the animals in the Zoo”

You see - you share - you learn - you connect. Helping in creating a better dialogue and a direction for the dialogue already extsting seems to be a very strong idea. As I saw in the initial field research, people journey through the Zoo in constant dialogue. But I often found that the dialogue was left with a lot of open and unanswered questions. It is therefore obvious to me that some kind of means to substantiate and validate the dialogue is a big need. This leads me to define my design challenge as:



of action

I set up a plan for the project period. It was a classic design process and even though pressed for time, feasable with the project scope in mind. At this point I had three user groups lined up. Since I wanted to focus on families and creating a better opportunity for them to have a dialogue throguh the zoo, I found three different structures. They were essential for my process since I wanted to do a lot of co-creation and experience prototyping with users.

On the next page my plan of action can be read in the task section of my plan for the project. Unfortunately my excell document mysteriously corrupted and it is not possible for me to retrieve the rest of the plan, but I find the task section most interesting anyway. Later in the project when things started to change, the plan changed with it.

A dad with his 3,7 year old son

A grandmother with her two granddaughters at the ages of 7 and 10

A couple with their 5 year old daughter.



Field &

user research


Going back to the zoo, my main focus was to observe social interaction between the visitors and how people acted when they were alone. Also I wanted get a feeling about capturing moments as this could be an offspring for a possible design solution. Many kids had assignment papers with treasure like maps in their hands and talked about how they should fill in the paper and what they had to examine and find answers to next. The zoo has a lot of activities and education programs for kids and schools, and I am sure the schools also add ideas to this.

Adults, teachers and pedagogues were constantly asking kids about what they saw and told the kids what the signs said. A kid pulling his grandmother (age 6-7) “Can’t we leave from here, it is totally boring” The grandmother replied: ” yes, it is very educational for kids here” She was obviously not really listening, watching me spin a big wheel about the ibis bird. There didn’t seem to be any direct answer to the kid, they just slowly moved out.

Remarks I heard: “Oi, look at that crap it makes” “yeah, yikes!!” Two boys, approx. 7 years old fascinated by rhino dong.

A kid (approx. 4 years old) asked, “which ones are the giraffes, where are they?” The mum didn’t answer but asked: “how many giraffes can you see?” No answer form the kid… Some parents tried a (rather misguided) humorous approach: “look at that one, do you think it just came from the hairdresser where it got gold spray in the hair?” The kids didn’t reply at all… Rhino head with disturbing context. A little girl was feeling all over the head.


was between the kids themselves. Trying to find out stuff together seemed to be very engaging. One case in particular was a group of four girls, two at the age of approx. 11 and two at the age of 5-6. One girl was very active and led the group to discover things about the giraffes. She even carried one of the other kids bags. They chatted away about everything, it was a joy to watch!

The zoo is not only for kids. This was part of a conversation between a couple in their 60-ies Man: “It is much nicer to sit down here” Woman:”Yes, it is far more secluded”¨

A woman had found another quiet corner next to the caracal (an African cat), were she was reading a book. The best example by far the whole day of social interaction that I saw 26

Also there was an example of two boys in the terrarium section of the tropical zoo where they were mutually engaged in finding the insects and animals in the glass displays and creeping out about them together. One was always a little braver than the other one.

“I’ve seen one of those in real life” a kid stated in a very laconic voice. Was that having an idea of the zoo not being the “real thing”, or was he just trying to impress his friends? The other kids didn’t care, they had seen that the turtles were mating so they were more interested in that!

Generally the “find Waldo” effect in this section seemed to be very effect full. But the moment didn’t extent so much longer than spotting the animal, especially with the youngest visitors. 27

People seem to pass though the first part of the rain forest rather quickly. Why? The butterfly section stops people more, the butterflies swarm all around you. A kid suddenly was very exited and explained happily to me that a big black butterfly just sat on my backpack and when it flew it almost hit his face and he demonstrated very lively how he had to move to let it pass him. He was very exited about this encounter. I loved his excitement.

Generally a lot of the kids and -some of the adults too- wanted a reaction from the animals: they would roar as the lion, replicate the animals movement, knock on the window, wave their arms etc etc… The animals never reacted to this and I found the whole show bizarre.


a moment.

On a personal note, I realized that when I leaned forward and towards the little lemur and got closer to it, I felt something. I smiled. When I took a picture, I got a little disappointed. It didn’t capture the experience as I felt it, it didn’t fill out my eyes in the same way, it didn’t touch my other senses or my mind in the same way at all.

I tried to take pictures of a very cute bunch of lemurs, resting in the shadows, but the picture didn’t do my experience any justice. On purpose I only brought my little pocket camera with me, because that is what people tend to have when they go to the zoo. Bringing proper photo gear could of course draw the animals closer to me through the lens, but that would not replicate the experience most people have. I wanted to try to walk in their shoes with the means a regular visitor typically has. 28

At the lion exhibition, I tried first to look at the lions over the hedge, then walked down to the windows where you can get a lot closer to where the lions are. The difference was big. Through the window, every sense of reality disappeared for me. Even though it meant watching the lions from afar, I preferred to stand with nothing between me and the lions but air. The window acted like a screen, and it took a lot away from the emotional connection that you some what magically think you get towards the animal. What is that feeling about?

S u mm a r i z i n g

field research#2

My explorations so far leads to my research/design question at this stage:

How ca n I enha nce dialogue a nd interpersonal re latio n sh ips by h e lpin g visitors sha re , observe , experience , relate to a nd lea rn a bout the a nimals in the Zoo? If successful on answering this question, I will create value for the visitors in the way that it could give them something to gather their mutual experience round. The Zoo will benefit from this because it can add an element that in my opinion is highly needed and thereby make a visit to the Zoo more attractive. And hopefully it could lead to a raised awareness on animals and their context.

Far away -and “real”- is better than with a window between you and the animal? Why? These kids didn’t care either way. Next to the lion enclosure there was a film shoot in progression, which was far more interesting than “any old lion” as they said.


C o n c e pt D e v e l o pm e n t

I created this model for the social interaction I wanted to focus on. I realized that the contact between the visitors was equally if not more important than the animals and concluded a visit to the zoo was a social experience as well as an opportunity to gain knowledge. And it didn’t matter if it was your granddad who told you crazy stories about how the elephant actually got it’s trunk. I just wanted to make sure this

The direction I took away from my explorations was possibly best described like this:


Ma ny t o uchpo ints fo r e nj oyi ng na t ure

E D U C AT I O N A L On one end of the scale you have the opportunity to purely learn and on the other side you have the opportunity to purely connect. Not that you don’t connect when you learn, or learn when you connect, it’s to clarify the many touchpoints of human interaction and dialogue possible during the complete user journey of going to the Zoo.


R E L AT I O N A L information was available to the audience if they chose to look for it. I took this to a meeting with the zoo and was surprised when they told me that people don’t want to learn anything in the zoo. They just want to see the animal, nothing more. But they still tried to do as much as they could in this direction and said I was spot on in focusing on the social interaction.



t h e e x p l o r at i o n s

After the initial field and user research trips I followed my learnings wishing to combine them with my project goals on working with tangibility, conveying knowledge and creating a platform for social interaction and dialogue. At the same time a raising suspicion about the value of the zoo was haunting me. It happened when I went back to the zoo doing field and user research the second time.(JUNE 21th emotions in the Zoo) I got this weird feeling that there was something more to the zoo than I knew at that time. I asked myself : “Why does my stomach hurt when I see a lot of the animal enclosures? When I see the polar bear in a very fake and small enclosure? When I try to catch the eye of the tiger and don’t? When I go to the wolves and have to leave almost in tears to see the lethargic beings I know are incredible shy and have whole countries as their territory... It hurts, something is up, and I feel like I have to dig into these emotions.” As I spoke to zoo visitors this feeling was confirmed by their experience. Surprisingly it seems most grown ups get this same stomach ache when going and most people go to the zoo because of the kids. Because it is tradition to go to the zoo on a day off - the kids seem to like going - and it is an opportunity to talk about the animals and have a day outside. I felt a sense of obligation to investigate what was behind this emotion and figure out what goes on with us when we go to the zoo. I wanted my project to become a response to that feeling. The following is text taken directly from my blog posted at the time: period and here are my reflections/considerations from that time:

It is indeed very easy getting caught in time consuming research. One thread leads to another which again leads to another and suddenly you are alarmingly close to a deadline where you have to deliver some kind of digested output and a clear direction. I suppose this is the big challenge for any designer who wish to find the balance in a tight timeframe where you want to validate your project and get inspired from the best possible offset. Will there ever be enough time to dig deeper? My context for this project is on top of that immensely rich on scientific research coming from many professions; sociologists, anthropologists, zoologists, business professor, biologist, philosophers and artists - just to mention a few who collect observations and metaphors and base work on the “human-animal narrative” The New Zealand Centre for HumanAnimal Studies has even invented a new profession they call anthrozoology which, as a part of the Canterbury University, offers interdisciplinary studies and results about the human-animal relationship. Giving myself a few days to intensely study this peculiar relationship between humans and animals have resulted in many thoughts, a lot of validation and some ideas to the directions I ought to take in my further work. Going back to the Zoo to re-study and observe the interaction between visitors and the animals, re-raised some questions about watching the animals. As I have spoken about before, it is clear that something happens. Something emotional. But what is that? What is really going on? This was my research question that I felt the need to be able to answer in order to come op with a solution. If I can’t state the problem, I can’t give the solution. Unfortunately my time only allows scraping the surface of this immense topic, so I’ll have to make due with a quick post-it like listing of inspirational articles I have found in books and online. I will not get into arguing the positions and claims, I will have to only state theirs at this point. My own interpretations will, however, be mixed in with writing about the quotes. At the end of it, I’ll try to summarize what I can take away from this research. 31

Berger I’ll start with John Berger who in 1980 wrote Why Look At Animals His work seems to spearhead a lot of research papers and projects. Bergers point of view is from a socio-cultural context and how we have used and interacted with animals in recent time. He is actually not answering his own question of why we look at animals, but what the animals loose from being reduced to a spectacle. Berger doesn’t like the Zoo. So much is apparent. He sees the animals as marginalized beings who are held hostage for the sake of our postimperialistic and capitalistic needs to show off power. He claims that a visit to the Zoo will always disappoint. Because of the marginalisation and artificial surroundings, the humans may enter with a wish to encounter the animal, but will be let down by the mechanical gazes by the animals who have become immunized to encounter. He writes; “that look between animal and man, which may have played a crucial role in the development of human society, and with which, in any case, all men had always lived until less than a century ago, has been extinguished. Looking at each animal, the unaccompanied zoo visitor is alone” Marvin Garry Marvin (PhD in anthropology), describes how animals have become more and more remote to people in the western urban world, and we see the animals in the media more than real life. Yet we still posses the urge to encounter animals as “significant entertainment or leisure time activities” We go on safaris, bird watching, ecotourism trips, to the Zoo’s, to the aquariums more than ever, which proves that people want to see animals. Acampora Ralph R. Acampora,Ph.D., takes it even further and speaks of a very interesting fact. He states that we react to the zoo as we would to a fetish. He goes back to the origin of the Zoo of being a powerful sym-

bol of dominion: It projected an imperial image of man-the-monarch - ruler of nature, lord of the wild. He builds his argument on the fact that we go to the Zoo to expect some kind of meeting with the wild but this can never be because we, the humans, are present. The natural experience would require the animals to act natural in their natural habitat and our presence in proximity to the animals would cause some kind of participation. All this is changed in the Zoo since the animal is fixed to one location in an unnatural habitat where the humans can watch the animal from a close distance. This makes the animals immune and passive to our presence and the animals are then reduced to objects of our spectating. This is also what Berger talks about. Acampora quotes Hahn (1967): the wild animal in conditions of captivity... is bound to alter in nature and cease being the the creature we want to see. So, there is no ‘real’ animal in the zoo in his argument. His main claim is that; Zoos are pornographic in that they make the nature of their subjects disappear precisely by overexposing them. Because of this overexposure that numbs the animals to our presence, any kind of interaction and natural encounter is wiped away. The animal simply cannot encounter us since they can’t do anything about our presence. So the only ones looking are the humans. And the animals cannot escape our vision. They are put on oppressive display and becomes objects of our desire; A fetish of the exotic, underlying fear of nature, fantasies of illicit or impossible encounter, and a powerful presumption of mastery and control. This is a problem because of the objectification of the animal. As well as women can be seen as a subject of objectification in the porn industry. His critique continues in saying that the Zoo is not a place for education but purely a place for entertainment. The zoos are highly popular, they attract in the states more people than the attendance at all major sports events put together. But people don’t go to the zoo to become 32

educated, they hardly glance at the information on display and tend to go for the animal babies and the more funny animals. So we have an illusion of being edified. He has some solutions. Either strip the zoos of their exotic animals and remove the ground for fetishism on the cost of the animals, or change the way people look at the animals and make this benign. Armstrong Is how we relate to and treat the animals a barometer for humanity itself? Dr. Philip Armstrong speaks of a lack of sympathy for the animals in the western civilization as a result of colonialism in his article The Postcolonial Animal. He tells us that we feel so guilty for the colonial slave trade that we act from an embedded bad conscience in the western collective when we no longer allow ourselves to the same agree to have an emotional response to the state of animals and tell ourselves: “it’s only an animal” D e sc a r t e s Im sure all this wasn’t helped by Descartes declaring the animal for soulless, and reduced it to something mechanical. Which for instance meant that killing the animal before dissecting them was therefore not of high importance, since the reaction was that of a machine not really feeling the pain.

view interesting: “An encounter with a living being, on the other hand, is a catalyst for action. This is were the love starts.” Having read all the theorists mentioned above, this statement suddenly seems very naive. Is there anything we can call an encounter? Isn’t it an illusion, a fabrication in the human mind? online resources: New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies: http://www.nzchas. “ What stood out the clearest after this was Berger’s: “Looking at each animal, the unaccompanied visitor is alone” But I also concluded on somewhat of a dichotomy. On one side I had Acamporas “pornography in preservation” and “there is an illusion of being edified” where I on a positive note felt like I had a design opportunity for social interaction and supporting a dialogue. At the time, I believed there was a way to combine the two. So, I continued my work doing sketching and brainstorming on this direction.

Berger states it very clearly: “The Zoo is a demonstration of the relations between man and animals; nothing else” (Why Look At Animals, 1980) Randy Malamud, Dr XXX says in an interview on CNN earlier this year that he believes the Zoos are teaching us all the wrong things about the animals: I find the quote from John Fraser a couple of minutes into the inter33

The layers of knowledge, thinking of how to edit


E a r ly

c o n c e pt d e v e l o pm e n t :

g at h e r i n g i n s i g h t s a n d b r a i n s to r m i n g


Warming up the brain with fun excersises.

Clustering the ideas

We organized group brainstorms amongst ourselves. 6 of my peers participated in a 1 hour intense brainstorm. My focus was my design question: How can I enhance dialogue and interpersonal relationships by helping visitors observe, experience, relate to and learn about the animals in the Zoo? I asked them primarily to come up with ideas for using augmented reality, a technology giving a possible direct link between the individual and the context. We of course also brainstormed openly on the desing question. 36

E a r ly

c o n c e pt d e v e l o pm e n t :




Context Review In late June we were so lucky to have Jozeph Forakis visiting and I had a two hour review with him and my advisor at the time, Niels ClausenStuck. Simona Maschi joined in for an hour. I presented my process up to that point, my choice of context and why, my findings in initial field and user research and finally my growing sense that something was wrong with the zoo. I got very good feedback on my findings and they supported my suspicion, which made us discuss a new direction for my project. I told them that I didn’t feel like I could go back and just do something nice as an addition to the zoo exhibitions now that I felt the zoo as an institution had to be changed in itself. They agreed with this and we ended up making a plan for thinking about a different kind of zoo. The new and improved plan now had the follwoing tasks at hand: Make a timeline of the zoo history Show meaning and significance evolve over time Restate value proposition Isolate and identify the aspects that a modern zoo needs Break down into critical moments in the zoo Sketch ideas Prototype In order to change the zoo, as my new direction now was heading towards, I had understand what the zoo was to us and to the animals. This meant I was hitting the books.


At the context review I presented the following slides as my journey from starting point to raised suspicion.



b ackground

In order to get wiser on the meaning and significance of the zoo over time, as well as being able to outline a timeline, I ventured into the history of the zoo and found many disturbing facts. Here is a small selection of pictures to point to some of the most important areas.


Until the 1970ies zoo animals were captured from the wild, which meant taking the cub and killing the mother. For every one animal that made it to its destination, 10 died in its path. The import of animals for showing of power, menageries and zoos are directly responsible for making several species extinct and endangered.


The desire to watch powerful and dangerous animals fight has been a leitmotif for the human-animal relationship since the romans emptied northern africa for lions to fight in colloseum. Ultimately the fights were always won by the higest ranking human standby to do the final killing. and thereby showing of his ultimate power.


Ota Benga, a human exhibit, in 1906.

“Bedlam,”asylum in London had windows opening onto the sidewalk, allowing passersby to throw coins at the patients and poke them with sticks to enrage them even further.

A caricature of Saartjie Baartman, called the Hottentot Venus. Born to a Khoisan family, she was displayed in London in the early 19th century.

A provocation: Will we ever look back at the zoo of today and think what we now think of having people on display back then ? We thought people with mental diagnoses were lesser than ‘us’, we thought people with visible genetic mutaions were lesser, then we thought “exotic” people were lesser. Will we ever realize that we think animals are lesser? 44

What does the animal care about trompe l’oeil or nice architecture? ... 45

... a cage is still a cage.



on the

H i s to ry

Going through the history was disheartening. It is obvious that we in our quest for conquering and obtaining new territories, have destroyed to an unfathomable degree. We, the humans, are the sole factor of the sad status of diversity in animals. We have eradicated territories, killed and captured to extinction, and it is now, in the aftermath of this destructional path, that we wake up with a post-colonial hang over of dimensions. We can say, ‘what have we done’, understand that is has to be “nie wieder” but how can we even begin to compensate and resurrect what we have destroyed? Are we to late? Can we make this right again? The animals that are extinct are extinct, but what about all the rest that are so close to extinction? The new interest in preservation which is a new mantra for a lot of zoo´s is all good and well, but is it the right approach? Are we better of making different systems of keeping the animals where they should be - in nature, and not in the zoos?? If so, how can we do this? The human-animal relationship has moved and evolved parallel to the creations of our societies, and it is this relationship that needs to change -improve- first and foremost. It is also frightening to see how little the urban zoo has changed. There is almost no difference to how they kept the animals in the early years of public zoos until today. It is still small -from the animal perspectiveenclosures and the envireonment is still predominantly fake. So, history told me where I had to put my focus, now I just had to figure out how I could do something about it.


R e s tat e

va l u e p ro p o s i t i o n

At the end of this process I could see 2 possible solutions for how the zoo should change: Either strip the zoos of their exotic animals and remove the ground for fetishism on the cost of the animals, or change the way people look at the animals and make this benign. At this point the thoughts of making it into a critical design project came into play. If I wanted to work with how we, the audience of the zoo, can change how we look at the animal, does that mean focusing on pointing to the problem and opening peoples eyes to this? And make people aware not only that we have a wrong way of looking at the animals but also give them an understanding of why? Thinking about how to change the existing zoo also meant thinking about the possibility of removing those animals that would not be damaged in being incarcerated, and having those as an exemplifier of animals and the wild. This would remove the majority of the business for the zoo, since people go to watch the exotic and dangerous animals, especially when they had newborns. But even if that obstacle was overcome, I was telling myself I could not -and were not- supposed to able to have all the answers. That it would take an army of experts in zoology and animal welfare to answer which animals that could be in the zoo or not. What I can have a qualified opinion about as a designer working alone on this project is more to do with the value propositions, the foundation for the problem, the design of the experience and the communication flow for the visitor, and not actually know which animals I could make proper habitats for or not. To battle with the curating of the content of the zoo was a constant challenge throughout this project, and I don’t know if I ever found the right balance since I constantly was challenging the actual content of the current zoo- the animals, in particular, the mammals. 48

1 0 S tat e m e n t s In order to get a good grip on the value propositions and moving into isolating and identifying the aspects that a modern zoo needs I had some definitions to make. I needed to see and understand the core of my problem to find a solution.

1. People go to the zoo to expect to meet and connect to the wild.

Therefore I made a plan with my new advisor Heather Martin, to create 10 statements, create validations for each each of them, illustrate the point and sketch project ideas for how design could work with, point to, be critical of or act upon the issue. This would also help me to break down what the critical moments in the zoo would be.

3. You are looking at a representation of the animal.

The 10 statements came out of my research and presented the top values and arguments to discuss about the zoo.

2. The animal doesn’t look back at you.

4.I t’s the dangerous and exotic animals that sell the tickets. 5. There is an illusion of being edified - the zoo is not about education but entertainment. 6. The animals in the zoo becomes a fetish to the humans

So, I took a sketchbook, dedikated a few pages to each statement and my job was then to work over the illustrations and sketches until I had the right ideas.

7. The zoo is a post-imperialistic power symbol

What came out of the work was a filled sketchbook, from which I will show a little variation.

9. As long as the zoo maintains an unbalanced Human-Animal relationship, the zoo will contribute to humans not understanding their place in the natural order.

8. It’s only an animal

10. We see ourselves in the animal.




S u mm a r y What came out of this was a direction of moving away from doing anything for the zoo and instead making something against. It was now clear that I had to make a new zoo instead of trying to fix the old one. I concluded on the zoo to be of such fundamental error, that there was no other way. So I decided to make a manifesto building on the 10 statements and by doing so creating a platform for action to move forward towards creating a New Zoo. Apart from the manifesto, I also needed to come up with a strategy for a new zoo and within that find some critical moments I could exemplify the zoo by. This meant sketching and prototyping. We arranged yet another group feedback amongst ourselves, and 6 classmates and Simona joined in on my session. The goal was to get help and refine on the process and arrive at a concept that should be the final. At this stage our projects were generally still very open-ended, and mine was no different. I directed the session mainly towards discussing critical design with the use of a metaphor like the turntable or possible ideas to create activism..


S o m e wa l l s k e t c h e s l o o k i n g f o r p i e c e / e x a mp l e f o r t h e s t r at e g y



How can I tackle this critical design idea, am I going for the wrong thing here? Where is the solution in critical design? And there is not much interaction design in making a campaign...


t i m e t o s t o p u p a n d t h i n k a l i tt l e . . .

I need to recap what had happened after the direction for the whole project seemed to change completely. One of my biggest challenges on this project was to limit my process, cut into the research and demand a clear stand point of my findings. I lost my sense of control as I lost my initial direction, and felt I was bombed many months back in my process. My process with wanting to create an addition to the zoo and working with something tangible had been growing in me since the first seeds were sown for the final project back in february. I had learned through the courses and projects we had up until that point in the pilot year, how interested I was in using interactive tangibility as a communication tool. I saw it had a lot of value to the user and since my passion evolves around conveying a message, this was definitely an area I wanted to get deeper into. A quote that made a lot of sense to me in my training to become an interaction designer was the following: What I hear - I forget What I say - I remember What I do - I understand Lao Tse

position of the zoo. It was only after having finished working through the 10 statements against the zoo that the thought of going completely against the zoo solidified. The solution of ignoring my insights was not an option, from an ethical point of view it was very wrong to continue in the same track of supporting the zoo once I realized how damaging and outdated an institution it is. At his point I became very very busy. Not only had I still to create my manifesto out of the 10 statements, I also had to create and propose a strategy for an alternative zoo wherein I should choose a micro-project to convey as an example of the New Zoo. This was in early august and I was running out of time fast. But I was important to get that kind of overview, and even though I was very busy, it was now clear what my design solution would be and that the purpose was to improve the human-animal relationship under the slogan “it’s not a human right to see a panda�.

The solution was now a three step plan: 1. The Zoo Manifesto 2. A strategy for a New Zoo 3. An example of a user journey in the New Zoo

I feel that working as an interaction designer, you strive to achieve the latter, and it is why I believe interaction design to a nescessay extension of my skills. With my background as a visual communication designer, this for me became the missing link in my skill-set and I wished to explore this further in my final project.The process of going from working for the zoo to working against it and creating a whole new strategy for an alternative zoo was overlapping and fluent. Little by little I moved away from making an exhibition addition to the zoo, and it coincided with the validation of the arguments as a direct effect of the suspicions of the negative ethical 55

The Zoo Manifesto Solution #1

The first thing I finished was the manifesto. This was an important piece of my design strategy and my project because my core user group had changed. From starting out with being visitors at the zoo, I now targeted visionaries that needed a platform for action to build strong enough arguments to pursue the plans of building an alternative zoo. I shaped the manifesto around the 10 statements, added supporting quotes, wrote the validations and created 9 illustrations with photography and drawings and a timeline for the last one to contextualize the manifesto historically and culturally.


The Manifesto is in book form and also attached to this rapport as a pdf file. In the pdf the timeline is not included, it can be seen in the book.


After having finished off the manifesto I started working on the strategy and spend a few days experimenting with different technology to create a prototype to show off the example of the experience of going to the new zoo. This also worked as a tinkering/body-storming method to get ideas and qualify my thoughts about the strategy. The idea was to show the core of the interaction happening at the new zoo. One of the most surprising insights I learned from my research was the fact that the animals doesn’t really look back at you since they are immunized to our constant presence that they cannot escape from. I created the “cage turntable” to cater to this metaphor. So while we try and make contact with the animal, trying to make contact with the “wild” the animal sees nothing but a big blur of shadows and bodies. I was experimenting with showing this in a paper prototype by “turning the table” on our own vision in the zoo. It was meant to be a critical comment and worked well to engage people in understanding the project, but was criticized for not being strong enough to carry itself as a piece for a critical design project.


Initially I thought of having a critical design project where I would have the manifesto next to a prototype of this kind to point to a problem that needed design. But I realized it would not be enough to make critical design, I had to come up with a solution to the problem too. Therefore I continued developing and understanding this metaphor and found a 600 page thesis on how zoo mammals react to the presence and behaviors of visitors in the zoo. What I learned from this was disturbing and finally solidified everything I thought about the zoo since I now had scientific back-up of the actual suffering of the zoo mammals. The paper gave me inspiration to think about showing how the animals reacted to visitors and hence was the idea of making a new zoo supporting this interaction born! My next prototype should support and show this interaction. First step was to have the animals virtually on display in my prototype.

I continued trying to solve it using fiducial technology, only for focusing on a working model for the exhibition and exemplification of the project. After a few days experimenting with this, I was advised because of time issues to move forward focusing on my concept and leaving all the prototyping for now. At his point the prototyping served more as an exhibition piece than time wisely spend for the exam. We, my advisor and I, decided that I instead should make the example of the interaction in edited video material and show the effect on a screen instead. This could be used for the exam and the exhibition at the same time. From then on it was a race against the clock producing a strategy for the new zoo. include strategy for the new zoo.

I played around with testing mirrors to create a Pepper’s Ghost effect where animals would be projected in 3D, but it proved to be too time consuming for the little time I had left and the resolution of the projection would be very rough and not realistic enough which I needed. I was advised to leave the more extensive prototyping alone so I left the 3D projection prototyping.


t h e s t r at e g y f o r t h e

New Zoo

Solution#2 B ac k g r o u n d / I n t r o d u c t i o n Concluding that the current zoo is an outdated institution, it is important to give an alternative to cater to the big human interest in nature and the wild. The purpose of the New Zoo is improving the relationship between humans and non-human animals to create a more sustainable action towards nature and the wild. The overall strategy is to make visitors experience what nature is in all its greatness. The New Zoo will give the experience of being close to an animal without hurting any in the process and by doing so, building an understanding of where humans belong in the natural order. It will be an entertainment park, like an highly updated version of the iMax, where you can interact with the content provided. A wide range of context, knowledge and customized information will be available to the audience.


dogma for the new zoo

No live mammals Animals are shown on a audio visual platform. The quality of the video content must be HD Content must show how animals interact with their habitat Content must show characteristics of the habitat Content must show cyclic characteristics of nature The presence of people will affect the behavior of the animals Knowledge must be contextual

The New Zoo will replace the zoo as the place to go for seeing animals and learning about them, by replacing the live animals with interactive technology and giving the sensation of being present with the animal in their natural habitat. What is extraordinary with the New Zoo is the quality of the imagery, the level of contextual knowledge and the opportunity to interact with the content. The interaction is important since it will make you realize how you as a human are being met by animals in their natural habitat. The interaction also offers an engaging way of gaining contextual knowledge where a carefully curated flow through the structure is planned to fit the context of the connecting dome.

User Journey Grandpa otto is out having an ice cream with his grandson Mathias who is 8. They talk about where they should go next time they go on an outing and Grandpa otto remembers having seen an ad for a new zoo experience and ask Mathias if they shouldn’t go and see that? Mathias loves animals and he says yes immediately. The following Saturday it is time to go and they meet up at the main square in town where the shuttle bus will take them to the New Zoo that lies in the newly build part of town “ørestaden” close to the natural surroundings of amager. They arrive at the New zoo and see the big structures rise in front of them, they think it looks very modern and future-like. Mathias expresses how excited he is to go inside and pulls his grandpa towards the entrance. They step inside a round room and it is like stepping into another world. There are animal noises, the air feels different and there is a smell like they were in the middle of a forest. Big screens are looping 60

short clips of close-up shots of animals playing. They take it all in while talking about what they expect to experience while they stand in the line to buy their tickets. When they arrive at the ticket counter the lady selling them their tickets ask them if they would like an introduction to the place and if so, she recommends them to go to the introduction room behind to the counter. Since they haven’t visited before they choose to go there. They notice how other people go directly into the main entrance, and they conclude they must have been there before. At the introduction area a little crowd gathers and a woman greets them hello. She introduces the layout of the New Zoo and tells them the Zoo consists of two types of structures, the experience domes and the knowledge tubes. In the experience domes they will enter the “living world” of animals, with real life representations of a natural scene of the habitat of the animals. The domes represent the major ecosystems worldwide like the jungle, the savannah, the desert, the tempered rainforest, the arctics, the tundra and the swamps and she tells them that the animals in the domes are ultra realistic animations of animals with a lot of sensory input to replicate the experience of being present in that habitat. It will look, smell, sound and feel like you where in that actual place. She picks up a handheld device and tells them that this an interactive and virtual zoo where you yourself choose the levels of interaction with and knowledge about the animal of your choice. She tells them that the device is for changing how the animals in the domes perceives you. In the domes you can choose to be either passive in the center area where you can sit and relax and observe what goes on around you or can choose to be active and engage in interaction with the animals. If you choose to do so, you step into the interactive zone where you now use your device to select what “skin” you choose to let the animals see you in. “Skin” means selecting the animal characteristic you want the dome to recognize you as. For the savannah, you can choose the common savannah mammals; zebra, wildebeest, lion,

hyaena, giraffe a.s.o. You can also choose to stay human. The default position is “human” which means that the animals will react to you as they would in real life if you were present as a human. Since you are not a natural element for them, they will be vary of you and react with great alertness to whatever you do. Sudden movements will for instance make the herd animals of the savannah run away from you quickly. She now demonstrates how the “human” choice would look and they see how the zebras get scared and run away, whereas they stay close when she changes her choice of characteristic on the device and becomes a zebra and they see how the zebras like her and make her come really close to them. She moves on to explain the tubes of knowledge and how they are the place to see all the real life footage up close in high definition audio/ visual quality of the life of the animals. The content in the tubes is a wide range of knowledge about the animals and their habitats from how they breed and live, over their social structure and survival techniques to visualizations on how they are positioned in the food chains. It will also position the meaning of the animals in a social and cultural context connected to humans throughout history. Again the tubes will have passive and active areas, which means you can choose to mainly observe or engage yourself fully in learning more about the animals and their habitats. They then receive a device each. They switch it on and on the screen they can see an icon of a human, witch is the default skin. On the bottom of the screen they read “Welcome dear visitor. You are now in the introduction area” She tells them this means that the device automatically knows where they are and the content will change accordingly. She shows them how they can choose different animal skins by tapping the screen. They are now ready to explore the zoo.


They go to the entrance where it says Transition Tube Savannah, and they enter a dark hallway where all the smells and noises from the main hall suddenly disappeares and it is quiet, they can only see running dots on the walls, leading them towards a gate in front of them. The interface changes into a pictures of the savannah animals. He touches the lion, and the lion fills the whole screen and the text says “lion skin active” He taps it again and it disengages the lion and he can choose another animal. They enter the gate and they are suddenly in a big space, the savannah. From sky to earth and all around them is the walls covered in moving images of flora and fauna of the savannah. They walk on a path towards the middle of the area while looking in all directions, astonished by what they see, smell and hear. It really looks and feels like they are on the savannah. It is hot and dry and the faint noises from the wildebeest snorting and the wind that hits the dry grass fills the air. They sit down in the big donut shaped bench in the middle to take it all in. They watch how the other visitors are interacting with the animals and each other. Mathias quickly jumps up, eagerly and runs towards the active area surrounding the donut. Since his device is still in “human mode” he startles the big herd of zebras he’s closing in on and they all run away. He goes back to his granddad, laughing. Otto says, now try to see if you can sneak up on the heard over there, but go slowly, otherwise they will run away again. Mathias tries this with some wildebeest on the other side of the dome, and he manages to get quite close until they realize he is there and run away. Now he starts to try out the different animals. Mathias shifts from being zebra, to impala, to lion cub, getting a different experience each time he changes his skin. After playing together with the lion cubs for a while, he turns on the giraffe skin, and walks all way the up to it. They both laugh about how big it is and how small they look next to it. They talk about how it must be very difficult for the giraffe to drink when the legs are so long - can the neck really make it all the way down? And what does it do when it

has to sleep? Otto once heard that it was dangerous for the giraffe to lie down because it was difficult to get up fast in case of an attack and they had an issue with blood not coming fast enough to the brain with the risk of fainting, but he didn’t know if that was true. He remembered in the introduction that the woman said that they would be able to learn more about the animals in the knowledge tubes and he said to Mathias they should remember to check that out. They moved on towards the well camouflaged door where a glowing path in the floor showed them where to go, and when they came close enough, they could read “welcome to the World of Knowledge” and the wall opened in front of them. They enter and they are now in a hallway with screens covering the walls from head to toe. They observe how the other visitors are watching specific situations of the animals they just met in the dome nehind them. They see amazing footage of how a group of lions are attacking a flock of elephants, and another one where they see simulated x-ray footage of a cheetah running over the savannah. Otto steps close to a screen and a menu pops up, now he can choose which animal from the savanna he wants to learn more about. He quickly selects the giraffe to find out if he was right about how it sleeps. A wide selection of categories emerge, and soon he is watching a short video about how the giraffe sleeps, eats and drink. After learning more about several of the animals they interacted with in the savanna dome the are both eager to check out the next realm. The follow the light through the rest of the savannah knowledge tube and feels how the dryness of the savanna disappears and suddenly some misty rain and high humidity surrounds them, they are now at the entrance of the jungle dome. Throughout the day Otto and Mathias explores, learns and interact with all the realms and animals in the zoo. It does not only give them an experience out of the extraordinary, it gives them an experience put into perspective and has given them an insight that gives them a new respect for how we are supposed to treat animals and the wild.


The Domes The animals will have their own life in the animations. Like in computergames where the life continues without you being present. Stalker and Animals Crossing are two expamples. It is important to ensure a new experience every time you come. Other parameters like seasons, wheather and other factors that can affect life, will be part of the simulation. All footage is being back projected withe projectors being linked together to ensure seamless overlapping between the videostreams.


T h e K n ow l e d g e T u b e In the Knowledge Tube the images of the animals are real life footage, recorded in the wild, by expert wild life photograpers like the ones BBC use for their high end nature documentaries. Here you really get a closer look at the animals through video footage showing all the aspects of the animals life. A big part of the content is to give visitors a journey through the human-animal relationship of all times, from the caves and plains of the stone age to the streets and structures of the urban megalopolis. It will gather the important touchpoints between man and beast, highlighting significant times and periods. Visualizations of animal characteristics, foodchains and habitual context is available. In historical reenactments we put animation to use again to make the visitor able to visit the princely menageries of Europe, join a caravan on the silk-trade route, or see how the extinct animals can come to life.


The Device The device is mainly at use in the domes, there lies an obvious opportunity in scaling the use of the devise in the knowledge tubes too. As of now it can be any already existing technology like the iPod Touch or similar. It must have a big and clear screen so the content is clear and visible for all ages. The device is something you get at the entrance and leave when you exit.


The Value The New Zoo will change how people go to the zoo. The big difference is of course that you no longer see the living animal in front of you, instead you will experience the animal close up as they actually live. The user experience moves from being focused on seeing and merely spectating into participating in the lives of the animals. The amount of knowledge and the depth and relevance of the chosen content will make people leave the New Zoo with a renewed level of awareness towards nature and how we as a human race fit into it.

T h e S ta k e h o l d e r s A highly skilled inter-disciplinary team must be put together to create and work on the New Zoo. The user journey and layout of the exhibition will be created in a collaboration within the whole team: Zoologists to make and ensure the quality of the knowledge about the animals. Exhibition designers to create the right flow in the communication to the audience Experienced curators to edit the content Filmmakers like BBC who are the best in the world to produce footage of animals in their natural habitat. Interaction designers to create the interaction with the content. Animators and 3D people to create animations, special effects and extinct animals Historians to plan historical content, make stories and ensure quality of historical facts. Architects to plan and oversee the building of the structures. Programmers and engineers to build visualizations and maintain the technology. Business people to make sure a sound business plan is in place. A part of the profit should go into nature preservation.


A few sketches from the development of the New Zoo



me. I came from a point were I wanted to have fun and create something cool and neat, and then I ended up having sat myself on a land mine.

I set out to learn more about making working prototypes that had a high level of finish. I wished to add to my existing skill set as a communication designer strong in creating concepts and wanted to incorporate how interaction design could be implemented to enrich and qualify communication. I also wanted to sharpen my editing skills: to be able to take a content, contextualize it and give it a precise output to a specific audience.

I think I might have ilstened to to many voices along the way My project started out with being straight forward, and I was talking to various highly clever people feeling confident in my direction and I felt it was easy to sort in their different input and advise. After my suspicion about the zoo arose, I lost my sense of confidence as I lost my sense of a clear direction. My project was now very open and complex which invited a lot of strong opinions I found difficult to sort in. I felt my role as a designer being more that of a mediator of content, and I worked with a completely open intuition and approach. I chose not to have a direction before I knew what I was dealing with. And to know my new project, I had to do qualitative research and validate my suspicions. Having jumped this process and instantly concluded, the zoo is bad, let’s make a new one, was simply too superficial and without value what so ever. I did not have the insights nor knowledge at that point to conclude such on a drastic position. In retrospect, maybe I could have jumped the gun and just pretended, but I had made arrangements with the zoo to make something for them and to go move away from that, I felt I had to have a valid reason. I had a very nice project going in the first place and it would have been so easy just to make an addition to the zoo. But after my suspicion arose I couldn’t go back, and after I validated my suspicion, I could only go against. So my process turned very academic for a while to make sure I had the right foundation to move forward on.

What I got instead was trying to navigate complete chaos in a process that blew up in my face. I got a project that was more an ethical discussion, not only on the subject matter but also as my role as a designer. I chose to attack the ethical discussion on the content by accepting my role as a designer with high moral standards. It sounds like there shouldn't even be a discussion, because when shouldn't a designer have high ethical standards and high morals? Well, what if I was hired by the zoo to make an addition to their exhibition? And I had discovered the same thing? Being a school project I could choose not to care about my stakeholder and take a long and deep look into the big perspective of the state and the institution of the zoo. And instead of taking the safe (and probably more fun) choice of making a cool little design solution for learning more about the animals, I chose to tackle and question the whole institution which led to a problem -and therefore project- of immense complexity and magnitude. My intellect was satisfied with this challenge and I was very engaged in "finding the truth" but I was sorry not to get my hands dirty and totally missed out on having a prototype I could iterate though user experience testing. So, did I sacrifice my own learning and personal idiosyncrasies for the greater good? It sounds martyred and pretentious writing that, but in a way that is what happened. I felt I simply could not ignore the case that rose in front of

I suppose I have found a value in all this for who I am as a designer. Obviously I am not a designer who can ignore a valid cause or problems for the society. But I think I need to learn how to switch that conscience of once in a while and just have some fun and enjoy making beautiful experiences instead. I hope to be able to do both in my future endeavors. And maybe once I get really wise, I can mix the two. 68


at k u n s t i n d u s t r i m u s e e t

da n i s h m u s e u m o f a rt



August 27th until September 6th Since the exhibition began, I have been contacted by some interesting people for my project. Jens Olesen from DR, editing board of per spective , culture and science is interested and Alok Nandi, a designer of narrative architecture and behind, also approached me to speak about future collabor ations. So it will be interesting to see how, and if, the project will create debate or even an alternative zoo..? One can only hope!





Baratay, E & Hardouin-Fugier, E. ZOO - a history of zoological gardens in the west Reaktion Books. London, 2002. Berger, J. About Looking Writers and Readers. London, 1980 Farrand, A The Effect of Zoo Visitors on the Behavior and Welfare of Zoo Mammals University of Stirling, 2007 Mullan, B & Marvin, G. Zoo Culture University of Illinois Press. Chicago, 1999

Acampora, R.R. (1998) Extinction by Exhibition: Looking at and in the Zoo Acampora, R.R. (2005) Zoos and Eyes: Contesting Captivity and Seeking. Successor Practices. Armstrong, P. (2002) The Postcolonial Animal Baker, S. (2001) Picturing the Beast Berger, J. (1977) Why Zoos Disappoint Berger, J. (1980) Why Look at Animals Franklin, A. (1999) Animals and Modern Cultures: A Sociology of Human-Animal Relations in Modernity Frye, M. (1983) Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory Hahn, E. (1991) Animal Gardens: Zoos around the World Hancocks, D. (2001) A Different Nature: The Paradoxical World of Zoos and Their Uncertain Future Lippit, A.M. (2008) Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife Malamud, R. (1998) Reading Zoos: Representations of Animals and Captivity Marvin, G. (2005) Guest Editor’s Introduction: Seeing, Looking, Watching, Observing Nonhuman Animals


A special thanks to my advisors Niels Clausen-Stuck Heather Martin Also I wish to thank Christena Nippert-Eng Matt Cottam Jozeph Forakis And a very special thanks has to go to my fantastic inspiring, helpful and supporting classmates, especially Erlend, for also being so very patient!

Ane Eline Sørensen Final Project DKDS / CIID 2009


Thesis Paper for The Zoo Manifesto project  

A report on the process of developing my thesis at CIID | Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

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