Bringing Home Recursions

Co-Crafting Environmental Self-Implication in Adult Design Education


  • Markus Wernli Hong Kong Polytechnic University





co-crafting practice, civic-tech education, recursion, urine fermentation, pro-environmental activation


This report is about an explorative co-crafting course applying the notion of recursive publics to adult learning and pro-environmental activation, which aimed to engage a diverse cohort of learners towards patterns of eating, living, and engaging that promoted wellbeing and a healthy environment. This two-month-long, university-endorsed study in Hong Kong saw 22 participants fermenting their urine in which to grow an edible plant (Lactuca sativa), thereby creating a material relationship between their bodies and the environment. Technologies were employed to bring people physically together for greater emancipatory engagement inside the shared material condition. When analyzed, these technologies revealed their potential for opening or restricting the synergies from combined purpose, expertise, and immanent life processes in recursively profound and playful ways. This civic-tech study offers a recursive self-implication approach to design education as a collective negotiation process for navigating unknown territory to converge a myriad of expertise and intended beneficiaries.

How to Cite

Wernli, M. (2021). Bringing Home Recursions: Co-Crafting Environmental Self-Implication in Adult Design Education. Cubic Journal, 4(4), 80–99.



Author Biography

Markus Wernli, Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Markus Wernli’s praxis, research, and teaching focus on human-nature relatedness by exploring the development of more regenerative, ecologically entangled ways of living and designing. His ongoing research draws connections between our food systems and practices and social, cultural, and local ecosystems. It considers how to forge better relationships between what we breathe, eat, expel, wear, and grow. Much of Markus’ research might be considered participatory citizen science or social citizen-design experiments that can be gathered under the umbrella of participatory research through design. He specializes in contextually applied and critical research-throughdesign, bringing focus to the social and ecological impact of body-technology pairings and human-biosphere interactions. Markus currently works as research assistant professor with the School of Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Before that, he held appointments at the College of Asia and the Pacific at Australian National University in Canberra, Zokei University of Art and Design in Kyoto, and the Multimedia Studies Program at San Francisco State University. URL:


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