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Kaylene Kau

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Major project:

Animal Diplomacy Bureau: Birds on the Street & Birds on the Grass

Animal Diplomacy Bureau (ADB) seeks to cultivate better Human—Animal Relations. ADB believes that we must begin to repair and foster relationships on a species to species level. ADB believes that we, as a species, need to leave behind the Human-Centered narratives of the Anthropocene and enter what Donna Haraway calls the "Chthulucene". The Chthulucene is characterized by its focus on multi-species stories and practices of becoming-with. In the Chthulucene "human beings are with and of the earth" and no longer the main character. To achieve this we need a radical shift in our mental landscapes and ways of thinking. We need to start changing the way we think about our relationships with the non-human.


ADB's Birds on the Street and Birds on the Grass are augmented reality games played on the streets of Kensington and the grass of Hyde Park. Players transform into birds and must survive the perils of the big city. To complete this transformation, each player dons a bird hat and is given the power of Bird Sense. As birds, Players will navigate through the city by listening and deciphering bird songs. Like real birds, how you strategize and how you interpret information will lead you to survival or death at the talons of the falcon.


The game aims to generate awareness, empathy and understanding—the key tools needed for better Human—Animal relations. On another level, the game acts as a research tool that generates knowledge about the current and possible future relationships players have with birds and wildlife. The game is also an exploration into if games are capable of creating empathy towards the non-human.

Info

  • Kaylene Kau is a product designer, researcher, play enthusiast, and most recently, director of the Animal Diplomacy Bureau. Prior to coming to the RCA, Kaylene worked in Taiwan as an Industrial Designer making IT products for classrooms. At the RCA Kaylene focused on researching play and how play can offer more engaging and less confrontational ways of changing people's world views.
  • Previous degrees

  • BFA Industrial Design, University of Washington, 2010
  • Experiences

  • Industrial designer, IPEVO, Taipei, Taiwan, 2011–2015; Volunteer, Blast Theory, Brighton, UK, July–August 2016; Learning volunteer, ZSL London Zoo, November 2016 to Present
Royal College of Art