Austin Stewart’s piece Second Livestock is a speculative design project which presents a new approach to farming for the digital age. The project proposes that battery farming could use immersive technology to increase animal welfare and productivity by immersing chickens in a simulated farm environment, while stacking them high in cylindrical urban farming units.
“The aesthetics of the presentation are intentionally poor—mirroring the presentations frequently given at technology conferences and tradeshows. The live demonstration of the enclosure does not involve a chicken, rather a volunteer from the audience straps on a human-scale VR headset and places their hands on a treadmill. Though scaled in size, the virtual cameras are still aligned at the angles that correspond to the anatomical position of a chicken’s eyes. This proves to be quite disorienting for the volunteer, but forces him or her to experience the world as a chicken.”