W O R K .


Markus Wernli

MARKUS WERNLI works on communities of flourishing—the prototyping of pluriversal, social arrangements, that explore more regenerative, ecologically entangled ways of living, householding and designing. His ongoing research in Design Commons draws connections between food systems and ecosystems on social, cultural, and communal level to forge healthier relationships between what we breathe, eat, expel, wear, and grow.
He currently works as Research Assistant Professor at PolyU School of Design (Hong Kong). Prior assignments included the Dutch Design Week (Eindhoven), Proef Eating & Food Design (Amsterdam), Rooftop Farm at Hong Kong University, Utopiana Gardens (Genève), and Cheng-Long Wetlands International Environmental Art Project (Taiwan).
Markus taught on tertiary level for a diverse range of students at School of Design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2015-22), College of Asia and the Pacific at Australian National University in Canberra (2012-14), and Zokei School of Art and Design in Kyoto (2005-07).

Contact: mswernli@gmail.com

Curriculum vitæ: Download (PDF, 114 KB)

Portfolio: Download (PDF, 6.9 MB)

Research Praxis

O N G O I N G . / . U P C O M I N G . / . R E C E N T

12 Jan, 2024 (2:00 – 3:00 PM HKT). Guest lecturer with Dr. Deniz Kucukusta: ESGs (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) for value creation in local environment and community? The case of SoilFeeder. PolyU School of Hotel and Tourism Management (SHTM), Hong Kong.

29 June, 2023 (4:00 – 4:40 PM HKT). Presenter at RAP Forum 2023 with: Post-capitalist Composting: Reverse Supply Chains for Organic Waste and Designing for Diverse Economies. School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

9 June, 2023 (10:00 – 11:00). Presenter at 6th Nordic STS (Science Technology Society) Conference 2023 (Disruption and Repair in and beyond STS) open panel: Soils Repair: Recuperating Human-Soil Relationships with: Soil Trust: Social pilot connecting food wastes, landscapes, livelihoods. TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.

1 May 2023 (12:00 NN – 1:00 PM HKT): Presenter with Kam-fai Chan and Jonathan Yu The farm as quasi-object in design education: Living-learning towards pluriversal forms of sustenance for Conceptual Practice: Research and Pedagogy in Art, Design, Creative Industries, and Cultural Heritage International Conference. The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hang Shin Link, Siu Lek Yuen, Shatin.

18 Mar 2023 (3:00 – 4:30 PM HKT): Film Screening/Panel Discussion Prototyping Economies for the Ecologically Regenerative City (「回歸田嘢」) with discussants: Wai-Fung Danny LAM (HKU Center for Civil Society and Governance), Shawn CHENG (FoodCycle+), Connie HON (NTMS Rice Cooperative), Iron CHAN (One Farmily Studio), Celeste SHAI (HKU General Edu), Henry YEUNG (Rooftop Republic) and Ho-ying MAK (Greenfield Organic), at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 3/F, Rm HJ303 Lecture Theatre, Shirley Ho Building.

24 Feb 2023 (2:00 – 4:00 PM AEST): Presenter at Waste/Economy/Ecology Symposium (WEES) in Session 3: Design: Materialising Economies and Ecologies (chaired by Ruth Lane) with Provocation Soil Trust: Designing economies inside an interspecies world of feeders, at Institute for Culture and Society, building EM in the Parramatta South campus of Western Sydney University.

15 Feb 2023 (12:30 – 2:00 PM EST): Speaker at Webinar Design Commons – Practices, Processes and Crossovers of Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Conference (ACSA111 Annual Meeting) at Washington University in St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design, Missouri, USA.

Sept 2022 - Aug 2023: Collaborative research sponsored by Zero Foodprint Asia foundation with support from local production farm and Food&Beverage partners. Soil-Care Hospitality: Cross-Sector Action Research Partnership (CSARP) for Regenerative Strategies in Coordinated Hospitality and Agricultural Practice Innovation.

12 October 2022 (3:30 AM – 5:30 PM BST): Panelist with Britta Boyer and Tanja Latussek at Institute of Advanced Studies' (IAS) Annual Theme Launch for Breathe, introducing Breathful Design in Breathless Times. at Loughborough University, London, Stewart Mason Building (SMB.0.17) and on Zoom (free of charge).

7 October 2022 (2:00 PM – 2:30 PM HKT): Speaker at Fall 2022 Discussion Series with lecture titled Designing with Sustainment (D x S). The Hong Kong University, Department of Architecture, Knowles Building (KB419).

30 August 2022 (9:00 AM – 12:00 PM BST): Workshop co-organiser with Justin Sacks at Participatory Design Conference (PDC) 2022: Embracing Cosmologies, Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design titled: Co-design of a pluriversal Commons Model Canvas. New Castle University, Urban Sciences Building, Newcastle upon Tyne and Zoom.

7 April 2022 (18:45 – 20:15): Speaker at the Urban Edible Spaces ForumCommunity Composting for Waste Reduction and Soil Regeneration. Hong Kong University, General Education Programme (GE2021-39) with Hermia Chung from Foodcycle+. Moderation by Celeste Shai.

24 March 2022 (16:00 - 17:00): Guest lecturer for Fermenting the city: What if urban soil care was a priority? at Strategic Approaches to the City master’s class of Dr. Sunny Choi at Urban Environment Department of PolyU School of Design, Hong Kong.

22 March 2022 (14:45 - 15:15): Speaker at the Design Making: Advanced Colloquia Series II (Making | Unmaking | Remaking)Starting a soil commons in Hong Kong: Manifested translations of human-soil relationships. School of Architecture, Planning and Geomatics, University of Cape Town, South Africa convened by Michael Louw and Daniel Elkin.

8 March 2022: Guest lecturer for Technological innovation from below: Human engagement with Soil at Technology and Cultural Change bachelor’s class of Dr. Daren Leung at Cultural Studies Department of Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

2021/2 ongoing: Soil Trust (泥玩 : 集「棄」還田)Building Capacities for Collectivized Nutrients Cycling in Hong Kong. Territory-wide collaboration with TinYeah (田嘢) organic vegetable co-purchasing platform with support from Research Institute for Future Food (香港理工大學未來食品研究院), Design Trust (信言設計大使) and Shing Wai Ng, Joshua Wolper, Ho Yiu Sheren Ngan, Kam-fai Chan and Hai-rong Yan.

2022 ongoing: Reframing and rendering commoning with a pluriversal Commons Model Canvas. Design commons research with Justin Sacks for Participatory Design Conference (PDC 2022) Embracing Cosmologies Expanding Worlds of Participatory Design (exploratory paper for 'relational commons' track).

2022 ongoing: Bokashi-fermentation of food waste with rice bran alternatively inoculated with citrus enzymes and Effective Microorganisms. Bio-science research trial with Kevin Kwok, Ka-hing Wong, Shing Wai Ng and Wai-yin Pang from Research Institute for Future Food (香港理工大學未來食品研究院).

C U R R E N T L Y . R E A D I N G

Yuk Hui (2016). The Question Concerning Technology in China: An Essay in Cosmotechnics.

Joanna Boehnert (2018). Design, Ecology, Politics: Towards the Ecocene.

Fikret Berkes (1999). Sacred Ecology.

Boaventura De Sousa Santos (2014). Epistemologies of the South: Justice Against Epistemicide.

J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, and Stephen Healy (2013). Take back the economy: An ethical guide for transforming our communities.

Samuel Kirwan, Leila Dawney and Julian Brigstocke (2015). Space, Power and the Commons.

Kathleen Mahon, Susanne Francisco and Stephen Kemmis (2017). Exploring education and professional practice: Through the lens of practice architectures.

David Bollier and Silke Helfrich (2019). Free, fair, and alive: The insurgent power of the commons.

Claudia Mareis and Nina Paim (2021). Design Struggles: Intersecting Histories, Pedagogies, and Perspectives.

Jamie Lorimer (2020). The Probiotic Planet: Using Life to Manage Life.

Chelsea Wald (2021). Pipe Dreams: The Urgent Global Quest to Transform the Toilet.

David Sobel (1998). Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education.

Lisa Feldman Barrett (2021). Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain.

Vlad Glăveanu (2020). The Possible: A Sociocultural Theory.

Pablo Servigne and Raphaël Stevens (2020). How Everything Can Collapse: A Manual for Our Times.

Sasha Costanza-Chock (2020). Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need.

Alexandra Toland, Jay Noller, Gerd Wessolek (2018). Field to Palette: Dialogues on Soil and Art in the Anthropocene.

Tim Ingold (2015). The Life of Lines.

Derrick Mead (2015). Design for Repair.

Ailton Krenak (2020). Ideas to Postpone the End of the World.

Alain Bovet, Philippe Sormani, Ignaz Strebel (2018). Repair Work Ethnographies: Revisiting Breakdown, Relocating Materiality.

Lori Lobenstine, Kenneth Bailey, Ayako Maruyama (2020). Ideas, Arrangements, Effects: Systems Design and Social Justice.

Susan Yelavich, Barbara Adams (2014). Design as Future-Making.

Jemma Deer (2020). Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World.

Eswaran Subrahmanian, ‎Yoram Reich, ‎Sruthi Krishnan (2020). We Are Not Users: Dialogues, Diversity, and Design.

Mary Catherine Bateson (1972). Our Own Metaphor: Our Own Metaphor: A Personal Account of a Conference on the Effects of Conscious Purpose on Human Adaptation.

R E C E N T L Y . R E A D

Steven Porges (2011). The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication and Self-Regulation.

Ezio Manzini (2019). Politics of the Everyday.

Bee Wilson (2019). The Way We Eat Now: Strategies for Eating in a World of Change.

Rick Flowers and Elaine Swan (2015). Food Pedagogies.

Arjun Appadurai (1988). The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective.

Herbert Meisselman and Halliday MacFie (1996). Food Choice, Acceptance and Consumption.

Albert Borgmann (1995). The Nature of Reality and the Reality of Nature.

Tim Ingold (2017). Anthropology and/as Education.

Nicholas Christakis (2019). Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society.

Douglas Rushkoff (2019). Team Human.

Shiu-Ying Hu (2005). Food Plants of China.

Frans de Waal (2019). Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves.

Kurt Koffka (1935). Principles of Gestalt Psychology.

Charles Mann (2018). The Wizard and the Prophet.

Melanie DuPuis (2015). Dangerous Digestion: The Politics of American Dietary Advice.

Kimmerer LaMothe (2015). Why We Dance: A Philosophy of Bodily Becoming.

Livia Kohn (2008). Chinese Healing Exercises: The Tradition of Daoyin

Sandor Katz (2003). Wild Fermentation: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Cultural Manipulation.

Tim Barber (2014). The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food.

David Waltner-Toews (2013). The Origin of Faeces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and Society.

Jane Bennett (2010). Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things.

Michael Carolan (2016). The Sociology of Food and Agriculture.

Sharon Hayes (2010). Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From A Consumer Culture.

Arturo Escobar (2018). Designs for the Pluriverse: Radical Interdependence, Autonomy, and the Making of Worlds.

Tony Fry (2018). Remaking Cities: An Introduction to Urban Metrofitting.

Ramia Mazé (2007). Occupying Time: Design, Technology, and the Form of Interaction.

Amanda Ravetz, Helen Felcey, Alice Kettle (2013). Collaboration through Craft.

Tim Ingold (2011). Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description.

Tim Ingold and Elisabeth Hallam (2014). Making and Growing: Anthropological Studies of Organisms and Artefacts.

John Dewey (1938). Experience and Education.

Judith Halberstam (2011). The Queer Art of Failure.

Salomon Friedländer (1918). Schöpferische Indifferenz.

Mikael Sonne and Jan Tønnesvang (2015). Integrative Gestalt Practice: Transforming Our Ways of Working with People.

Joseph Zinker (1977). Creative Process in Gestalt Therapy.


Albert Borgmann (1995:39-40) looks at human reality in its contingent engagement with the world and distinguishes indifferent presence from commanding presence as follows:

“Whatever is devoid of contextual bonds and hence freely, that is, instantaneously and ubiquitously available, is therefore subject to our whims and control and cannot command our respect in its own right. Conversely, devoid of contextual bonds and hence freely, that is, instantaneously and ubiquitously, available is therefore subject to our whims and control and cannot command our respect in its own right. Conversely, whatever engages our attention due to its own dignity does so in important part as an embodiment and disclosure of the world it has emerged from.”

(Borgmann, 1995, 'The Nature of Reality and the Reality of Nature', in Reinventing Nature: Responses to Postmodern Deconstructivism, Michael Soulé and Gary Lease, Eds.)