Habitabilities of Living Artefacts: A Taxonomy of Digital Tools for Biodesign
Jiwei Zhou, Bahareh Barati, Elisa Giaccardi, Elvin Karana


This paper offers a taxonomy of digital tools for crafting habitabilities in biodesign practices. Over the past decade, interest has grown among design and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) scholars to explore the potentials of living organisms for novel responsive behavior and interaction possibilities. Yet, to date, it remains unexplored how digital technologies can support the design of living artefacts, that is, artefacts in which the organism is alive at the time of use. Our taxonomy bridges this gap by examining and reinterpreting the roles existing digital tools can play in the exploration of the abilities of things to provide a habitat for living artefacts both at design time and use time, i.e., crafting habitabilities in biodesign. The taxonomy is grounded in a systematic analysis of ten cases of living artefacts from art, design, and HCI, and it identifies three roles for digital tools: understanding, embodying, and perpetuating the habitat. Forwarding a relational perspective through the lens of habitability, this work promotes the mutual wellbeing of both humans and non-humans in biodesign.

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