Jenna Witzleben

MFA Thesis Blog

This blog contains experiments, project and reading reflections, unanswered questions, and more relating to my year-long thesis as part of my Master's design program. From Sept. 2016 to May 2017, I explored rewilding human beings and the environments we inhabit at multiple scales including investigation around individual fears of nature, regional food production systems, and global overpopulation. The final works of this thesis can be found in my portfolio.

Rewilding our Careers

To gain additional learnings, ideas, and insights about what a future "rewilded" society looks like, I investigated translations of current careers into "wilder" versions. Specifically I spoke with my family, boyfriend, and some family friends and worked with them to imagine potential future roles and responsibilities that they would adopt. Here are some of the responses:


Role: Mechanical / Electrical Engineer

Future Tasks / Responsibilities:  Encouraging children's connection with both making and with nature, Studying the electrical and conductive properties of natural materials, Using machines/electronics to learn more about other plants and animals, Using/Creating ecologically friendly electronic equipment, Developing ecologically friendly energy and transportation solutions. 

Role: Nurse

Future Tasks / Responsibilities: Food as medicine, Gardening and cooking education, Nutritional counseling, Using and providing natural remedies, Patient education on food sourcing and healthy product usage.

Role: Economist

Future Tasks / Responsibilities: Cost/Benefit analysis of different alternative energy solutions, Integration of both economic and environmental costs, Assessing environmental impact of economy itself and developing ever more sustainable systems, Aiding in transition and maintenance of local economies, Studying and learning from transactional systems / "economies" of other animal groups

Role: Police Officer

Future Tasks / Responsibilities: Increased focus on environmental and animal laws, More compassionate tools (in other words, fewer or no deadly guns), Maintaining natural corridors and preventing habitat issues, Compassionate conflict resolution and mediation (Note: fewer hate crimes and intentional criminal offenses due to a more compassionate society).

To further my thinking, I started to sketch. Particularly I focused around potential tools that nurses in a wilder future might need. These included: wearable plant belt, hand-powered thermometer, herb cart, combined stethoscope and plant monitor, plant briefcase, double syringe for combination of natural and chemical medication, "green coat" with plants growing on it, prescription plants. It is important to note, however, that many design solutions for the future nurse would also involve services like food-as-medicine restaurants or medical treks. 


To further explore these options I prototyped the dual method medicine in a two-syringe system: with a cayenne pepper rub on one side and acetaminophen on the other side. Both are solutions for muscle pain, but one is a more "natural" remedy, and the other is a more chemical remedy. The question that this brought up for me, is how to brand these speculative products? This product implies that a potential future involves a more even usage of natural and chemical medicine. Does the packaging stay the same? Does it evolve into a more organic format? Or is there some type of in between?

Jenna Witzleben