Chris Berthelsen

 Making Friends: Becoming Real and Mythical Animals as a Research Lens

Various people sitting with a masked figure.

Chris Berthelsen

(NonPresenting Collaborator: Jared Braiterman

Like buildings and people, animals also have a history in the city, with dimensions that include layers, time, and context. Becoming them is a research lens that helps us look past spatial, structural and service strategies that focus on physical and digital artefacts, showing a way for considering how microspaces, pleasures, pranks and human/nonhuman relationships can inform thinking about urban environments.

A man with hairy arms wearing a mask.Making Friends is realtime research, storytelling and prank. It explores how we might interact with new people in urban environments without mobile devices. In Tokyo, a mythic shapeshifting animal (Tokyo Tanuki) reaches out to human inhabitants of the megaregion with simple props and a spirit of generosity.

Cities, corporations and universities interested in human and morethanhuman centered design can learn from this project’s approach to public research, including how to navigate between digital and physical realms and how to prototype interactions in public spaces.

Chris’ Links
Log of Selected Actions ~ video & images

Selected Videos;
Tanuki goes for a swim at the Netherlands embassy in Tokyo

You can offer candy to strangers, but you can’t make them eat it. Sexy lady quickly rejects tanuki’s gift.

Workshop at Shibaura House Tokyo

Reading Intervention at Local Elementary School Tokyo

Which part is most useful for making friends? Tanuki makes guest appearance at morning storytelling

Tokyo Tanuki Learning from Mythical and Real Urban Animals

Guest blog post on This Big City