Through his practice Ausblau, Christoph Dichmann leads playful investigations into materiality, ecosystems and the human experience.

Christoph’s path took him from graduating with a BA from the Designacademy in Eindhoven to undertaking an MA in Material Futures at Central Saint Martins which he finalised in Summer 2021.

It had always been Christoph’s desire to turn projects into interdisciplinary canvases, that both stretched current mindsets around sustainability and enabled the grasping of a future sense of normality. The studio’s projects therefore evolve around the big topics that are hidden in mundane objects.

Based upon interviews with experts from institutions such as Butterfly conservation, Kew Garden and the University of Cambridge, ‘The Butterfly Bridge’ is an augmented reality video game that encourages players to improve the real life biodiversity of urban spaces.

In an example of ‘more-than-human’ interest, players collect data through their camera phones about existing and missing greenery in the urban plant grid. They use butterfly-biased plant recognition tools that identify existing butterfly habitat and food plants. The game then invites players to use the augmented reality planting function, where digital ‘seed tokens’ are transformed into geolocated planting data for the local council. In this way, players and urban managers can share information and resources to co-create travel corridors and habitat spaces for butterflies, which consist of butterfly specific food and caterpillar plants. Moving up each level of the game, players become representatives of yet another endangered butterfly species on the UK red list and its unique ecological needs, whilst also contributing to real-life efforts to improve biodiversity in general.

Butterflies act as indicator species for the health of a wide range of other invertebrates, as well as the wider environment. In this way, they become an easily identifiable proxy for the natural world in this ‘phygital’(half physical, half digital) rethinking of biodiversification strategies.