Michaela Büsse


In her presentation Michaela will frame land reclamation as a speculative material practice and investigate its underlying design politics. Land reclamation is a process by which artificial land is created through dredging or mining sand in one place and reallocating it to another. While in recent years, inspired by the resurgence of materialism, abstract notions of design as mediating practice between human and environment have gained popularity, these more-than-human-centred design theories tend to obscure the material and immaterial infrastructures that still shape human and nonhuman realities. By utilising the example of sand’s transformation into land and tracing its journey across sites, actors and continents, the infrastructures of planetary transformation — as well as what elutes them — are investigated.

Michaela Büsse is a design researcher from Germany currently based in Basel, Switzerland. Her practice explores design’s entrenchment between accident and incident and manifests in writing, film and curatorial work. Michaela is a PhD candidate at the Critical Media Lab where she currently investigates how design comes to govern social, material, political and economic relations by tracing sand’s becoming-land. She is editor at Migrant Journal and curator of OTHERWISE, a bi-annual festival-as-research. Michaela has been a fellow with Strelka Institute, MCAD Manila and CCA Singapore.