Nightsniffing reimagines urban public bat walking as a way to collectively investigate the systems that shape the city, combining transdisciplinary investigation, walking art and digital media design. It seeks methods to engage different publics with bats without reprising sometimes unhelpful divides between nature/culture or ecology/society, instead beginning from the complex relations that bats have with cities and human society. These include environmental regulation, varying consideration of the interests of bats within urban planning and the ways bats use, inhabit, affect and are affected by the built environment. Engaging with the technologies and methods that make bats perceivable, Nightsniffing will stage walks and events in London that allow different conversations to emerge regarding who and what are cities are for, and how we might wish for them to function differently
The project has three stages. The first is an investigation of bat walks and surveys using biomapping - using physiological sensors and recorded sound to elicit accounts of what people feel and experience while looking for bats. The second is to investigate systems that affect the built environment, attending to how the interest of bats and other beings and communities coincide and come into conflict. These will be combined in the final stage to create the novel electronic contraptions and methods of walking to bring together the concerns of different communities of living beings in the city with the systems that might care for, disrupt or harm them.