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Natalie Jeremijenko's Ooz project is an experiment in 'interspecies communication,' challenging human understandings about the quality of life of animal species in settings designed by humans.

Like a traditional zoo, Ooz is a series of sites where animals and humans interact. Unlike the traditional zoo, this is place where the animals remain by choice: a zoo without cages. What's more, the human-animal interactions at an OOZ site are significantly different from that of a Zoo, comprised of two components: 1) an architecture of reciprocity, i.e. any action the person can direct at the animal, they can direct at the person; and 2) an information architecture of collective observation and interpretation.

The first phase of the project, sited in Zeewolde (the Netherlands) is an experiment in the distributed human interpretation of goose communication. Human participants saddle up in a 'goose chair' and contort their bodies to control a robotic goose out on the water in hopes of successfully communicating with live geese.

Meanwhile, throughout the range of planned Ooz communication habitats (horses, water striders and bats), the animals can learn to control the human 'spectators' by pressing the appropriately designed button or lever that communicates in human speech. For example, a button may trigger the recorded voice: "Yo! If you are going to stare, how ‘bout inserting 25cents and delivering a dose of that beaver biscuit!"

Ooz web>

Natalie Jeremijenko project hub>