Frog Eyes and Feral Futures

Frog Eyes and Feral Futures
Alex Bernatzky
Weaving urban imaginaries, decentering the human, and inviting nature into the 'We' through more-than-human sensemaking & experimental storytelling.

Alex Bernatzky
Berlin, Germany
Alex is multihyphenate. One part anti-disciplinary design researcher, one part visual storyteller, and several parts insatiably curious.
Field of work
Design, Ecology, Multimedia, Research, Other
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Alex is a Johannesburg-born creative with an enduring but ambivalent love affair with cities, The soul encased in concrete and asphalt, the heartbeat provided by the thrum of daily life.

Their mantra is: be BEFOK... Not Gefok. 

Befok: Afrikaans slang means cool, crazy, stupid or a combination of all the above.

Gefok: Afrikaans slang meaning fucked up or stupid

Be BEFOK exists in a contested space. Like the language, it stems from Be BEFOK is unmoored — Something that belongs neither in Africa, where it was born nor in Europe, where it finds its roots.

Like the Afrikaans language that gave it birth, the word befok is inherently divisive. It is viewed with distaste in various conservative circles yet serves as a force of raw expression for an irreverent youth not bound to such niceties. It represents the ability to reclaim space and shift the conversation, not by whitewashing its problematic nature but by walking that razor's edge of recognition while refusing to be defined by that nature.

Be BEFOK was born to embrace this uncertainty, meeting it with curiosity and irreverence. It is a place of experimentation: unmoored and constantly contested. 

It is a thousand tiny mushrooms pushing up through the cracks.

It is that liminal space in between madness and genius.

Current explorations: Design fictions that plant the seeds for possible tomorrows as humanity adapts — especially in response to migration and climate change; avenues for the hybridisation of print and digital media; entangled urbanism from a troll perspective.

Alex has an MSc. in Design Research from Bauhaus Dessau's COOP Design programme and since graduating has continued to expand and apply their learnings through independent practice-led research that is running towards an eco-communitarian future.

To decentre humanity and re-explore our relationship with nature from its perspective, I create ethnographies and tell stories from a "Trollperspective," embracing traditional and folkloric knowledge. I make my own paper, light-sensitive emulsion, and developers from plants foraged from the site of study, allowing nature to embody its narrative.

My work creates a tangible connection between the stories and the materials used to tell them, giving nature an active role in shaping the narrative.

"Frog Eyes and Feral Futures" challenges the notion that nature is something to escape from and exploit, a concept foundational to the capitalist paradigm. By presenting non-human perspectives, my projects contribute to re-evaluating our relationship with the environment and moving towards an equitably intertwined future.

Going forward, I aim to gather my "findings" into zines and facilitate workshops and interventions to encourage active participation in co-creating our shared spaces and forge a new relationship with the natural, challenging nature vs culture and wild vs urban divisions.