Alex Wilkie has been exploring more-than-human socio-environmental issues through practice-based and design-led research since 1998. This has involved various modes of interdisciplinary collaboration and design practice, notably human-computer interaction design, sound design, user interface design, visual and graphic design as well as industrial design. The designs he has been involved in have been shown in major international galleries and museums including the Tate Modern (London), MOMA (New York), The Victoria and Albert Museum as well as CCCB (Barcelona) and have been used by activists, citizens, communities, and researchers both nationally and internationally. Below are a selection of designs and design projects Alex has been involved in.

Energy Babble

The Energy Babble is an interactive and networked audio device that was designed for energy communities in the UK. Drawing content from various online sources, including social media, UK national grid updates as well as spoken content from members of the energy communities, Energy Babble uses algorithms to continuously speak about energy matters to help stimulate new ways of engaging with climate change. Over thirty Energy Babble devices were made and deployed amongst seven energy-demand reduction communities.

The Energy Babble designed for energy communities in the UK.
The Energy Babble features sound design that adds musical accompaniment to the spoken transmissions.

Prayer Companion

The Prayer Companion was designed for a community of nuns in York to support their intercessional prayer practices. The design displays scrolling text statements drawn from online sources, including news and social media, signalling current issues and sentiments that may be used as the basis for prayers.

The Prayer Companion.
The top of the Prayer Companion showing an item of news media scrolling across the display.


The Photostroller was designed for a community of elderly residents of a care home in York. The design presents sequences of images drawn from the internet and features a remote control that allows the residents to adjust and modify the search terms the Photostroller uses to query online image sources.

The Photostroller.
A studio photograph of the Photostroller taken prior to deployment.
The Photostroller in-situ.
The Photostroller in-situ at the care home in York. is an Amsterdam-based foundation that develops political tools, instruments and practices for studying, understanding and intervening in web-based issues and controversies. Founded at the Jan van Eyck Academy (Maastricht) in 1999, featured an early interdisciplinary collaboration between science and technology studies scholars and designers and developed some of the first tools for digital social science and digital methods, including the Issue Crawler as well as graphic techniques for visualising issues.

The genetically modified food debate issue visualisation.
A visualisation of the genetically modified food debate in 1999, including a link language to visually describe the activities of online actors.

Web Geographies

A precursor to, the Web Geographies project was a collaboration between Science Dynamics at the University of Amsterdam, and Computer Related Design at the Royal College of Art. As part of this collaboration, Alex designed the very first issue maps that rendered the hyperlinking activities of online actors as active political endeavours. The first issue maps depicted online actors involved in the global climate debate in 1998.

An early web issue map.
One of the first visual renderings of an issue map.

Books & printed matter

Book and printed matter designs, including designs for books Alex Wilkie has published as well as designs for peers and colleagues.

Studio Studies
‘Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies & Displacements’ featuring a photograph of the Energy Babble in the Interaction Research Studio.
Speculative Research
Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures featuring a photograph by Jorge Dragón and Carlos Canal from the ‘el viaje’ section of the work ‘Presunciones y apareniences: El coleccionista de mirades’ (Presumptions and appearances: The collector of gazes) – an album of retrieved and redetermined exposures originally rejected from a photography film processing laboratory in Andalusia, Spain.
Inventing the social
Inventing the Social book cover with Mattering Press.
Cover design and photograph for The Adventure of Relevance: An Ethics of Social Enquiry by Martin Savransky.
Graphic design of printed matter and online content for the Inventing the Social conference at Goldsmiths, University of London.

The Roman Signer Tea Chart

A tea chart for members of a design studio to indicate their preferred strength of English tea using a portrait of the artist Roman Signer as a reference.

The Roman Signer tea chart

Book dividers for the Vitsoe 606 Universal Shelving System

A set of alphabetical book dividers designed specifically for academic writing and the Vitsoe Universal Shelving System as a means to minimise the time between the thought of a reference, its identification within a large corpus of books and its insertion into a text.

Book dividers for vitsoe shelves.

Pedestrian Leisure Prototype

An interactive umbrella which generates electronic music using inputs from raindrops (sensed using a piezo electronic canopy), pH levels in the rain and the movement of the pedestrian as they walk.

Pedestrian Leisure Prototype
A VHS video of the Pedestrian Leisure Prototype (1999).