Playing with Pigs: Pig Chase

Hein Lagerweij, Kars Alfrink, Irene Van Peer, Clemens Driessen, Marinka Copier of HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, and the Wageningen University and Research Centre (NL)

The Playing with Pigs project began investigating the complex relationship we have with domesticated pigs by designing a game. It started as the wild idea of a pig farmer frustrated with the lack of ways to save her pigs from debilitating boredom. It was also spurred on by a European directive that calls for farmed pigs to be provided with something they find interesting to do, to prevent bored, aggressive pigs from biting each other’s tails.

Designing new forms of human-pig interaction can create the opportunity for consumers and pigs to play together, as well as to experience each other’s capabilities. The first prototype game showcased in the video is called Pig Chase. It met some of the goals the creators had for their game: to create a genuine experience of playful interaction between two curious subjects. It appears to put humans in control, whereas both the pig and human player need to learn to move together, allowing for mutual adaptation and attunement. However, there are still numerous challenges ahead in creating a truly ‘level’ playing field.

The aim is to create an open-source platform that invites people to try out new modes of engaging and interacting with animals that would otherwise be hidden from view.

PROFILE

The Playing with Pigs team assembled around the challenge of rethinking the world’s relationship to farmed pigs via interactive media, linking the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and the Wageningen University and Research Centre. Hein Lagerweij is a Utrecht-based motion graphics animator and designer; Irene van Peer is an industrial and interaction designer teaching at the HKU; Kars Alfrink is a designer active in the area of play, technology and society currently based in East Asia; Clemens Driessen is a philosopher and cultural geographer at Wageningen University researching animals and technology; and Marinka Copier is a designer and director of the Expertise Centre for Creative Technologies at the HKU.

› playingwithpigs.nl

The Farm Cyborg section of the exhibition explores how over the last decade we have begun outfitting plants, landscapes and animals with sensors, actuators and wearable computers.