Pigs in Cyberspace: A Design and Culture Exploration of NZ Farming
Public concern surrounding agriculture has been growing in the past decade with the rise of factory farming and the decline of independent family farms. Producers have reacted to this concern and desire to learn more about farming practices in various ways. This thesis focuses on understanding how one New Zealand pig farm has taken to social media to present stories of sustainable and ethical farming and uses design research to explore and present alternative narratives.
Using Wairarapa-based Longbush Pork as a case study, the first part of this project includes a narrative and visual analysis of popular social media posts, an online survey of social media followers, and an in-depth interview with the farm owners and operators to understand the stories being presented and how they engage with specific publics. Concentrating on the kind of human-animal relationships that emerge in these narratives and online discussions, the second part of this project uses co-design methods to create new narratives that can be exhibited and shared online for public feedback.
Ultimately, this thesis aims to critically reflect on the way stories of farming are told and understood, and how they can serve to creatively explore public concerns surrounding livestock farming practices.