Non-Humans’ Embassy

Non-Humans’ Embassy
New cultural outposts to explore potential forms of cohabitation between humans and non-humans

Non Humans’ Ambassadors
An interdisciplinary team (2 designers/curators + 2 theatre directors) exploring multispecies cohabitation via theatrical performance.
Team members
Field of work
Architecture, Ecology, Curating, Research, Other
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Enrico Lain (designer, writer/co-curator) is an architect and PhD in Architectural Composition from IUAV in Venice, where he specialised in participatory process techniques. As a freelancer he has realised buildings in Italy and abroad (China and India) and in 2016 he opened Blu143 design firm based in Padua.
Saverio Massaro (designer, writer/co-curator) is a civic designer holding a PhD in architecture theories and design focusing on waste and urban metabolism in architecture. He carried out educational and research activities at Sapienza University of Rome, RUFA University of Fine Arts, and is currently a lecturer at the University of Basilicata. He is co-founder and director of the no-profit organization Esperimenti Architettonici (Altamura, IT) and consultant for public institutions to foster a culture of participation and circularity.
Marta Bettuolo and Stefano Eros Macchi founded the Padua-based cultural association LiNUTILE in 2006. It’s a creative cultural enterprise encompassing the LiNUTILE Theater and the LiNUTILE Academy. Through the tools of theatre and non-formal education, LiNUTILE aims to promote the cultural and social growth of the community by encouraging active participation. Since 2021, the LiNUTILE Theater has been accredited by both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture.
In 2023, our team inaugurated the first Non-humans’ Embassy on the ground floor of Miccichè Palace-Human Forest within the cultural center FARM Cultural Park in Favara (Sicily, IT). This initiative recently earned recognition, being chosen from all Trans Europe Halles centers' strategies for inclusion in the forthcoming book 'ReBuilding to Last.

The project started in 2021 within the Italian Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale and continues to evolve. It is tentatively termed a 'discursive device' comprising three main stages: an online panel titled Constituent Assembly in 2021, 2 video installations in Mazzarino and Favara in 2022, and a site-specific installation of the first Non-Human Embassy along with the performance "The Non-Humans' Ambassadors" in Favara in 2023.
The project stemmed from a desire to experiment with disseminating scientific research in architectural and urban design to a broader audience. Traditional approaches often alienate non-experts due to their complexity or exclusionary discourse. The aim is to challenge modern dichotomies such as nature/culture and subject/object, fostering greater sensitivity to the diverse temporalities inherent in human-nonhuman interactions.
We adopt an Actor-Network Theory (ANT) approach, emphasizing agency and non-human actors, supplemented by time studies to explore temporal dimensions influenced by non-humans. Additionally, the performance enhances audience engagement, reducing the gap between actors and spectators.
The project's first phase, "Fair Play," convened an online Constituent Assembly where invited speakers embodied various non-human entities, fostering creative dialogue and innovative viewpoints. This led to a video installation and eventually a live performance, "The Non-Humans’ Ambassadors," exploring the potential of performance to engage with complex issues.
We adopted a speculative approach blurring boundaries between fiction and reality. Then, through a ritual, the first Non-Human Embassy was inaugurated in Favara, serving as a platform for engaging with non-humans and their concerns through diplomacy. The project expands beyond a singular event, aiming to establish new embassies and foster inclusivity and dialogue.