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The Secret Garden

Project Info +
Project: Term Project ( Royal College of Art )
Team Members: Aarti Bhalekar & Anushka Khemka

The Secret Garden, which comes to life in extended reality, explores the space that starlings inhabit in the current landscape of avian ecology in the UK. The songbird’s population is in huge decline and, as a result, is on the Red List. In these times of urgency, it is essential to prevent them from becoming regionally extinct. An abundance of cattle leads to the loss of permanent pasture, reduces foraging opportunities for starlings, and affects the numbers of leatherjackets, which are the main prey for starlings. 


Birds have also adapted to the noisy landscape of cities by communicating through higher-pitched songs. This could make it difficult for birds to communicate with other populations of their species, which is a major reason for their decline. 


Through extended reality, we aim to communicate these urgent issues by inviting our audience to embody a starling. Can a new mode of thinking emerge through the act of becoming a bird? Can the translation of vivid sensory information via digital technologies induce a sense of biophilia? In the end, we hope our audience walks away with a greater understanding of how the Anthropocene affects the flourishing of starlings.


Our focus is on engaging local councils responsible for maintaining public parks, agricultural practitioners, and home gardeners. Nevertheless, our project is designed to be accessible to a broad age range, spanning from children to adults, aiming to raise awareness among the general public about the current situation concerning starlings

Chapter 1 

Sustain Lab Exhibition

We got to present our work in The Upper Gulbenkian gallery. The exhibition ran from May 13th to the17th. 


Our project also lives in Hyde park behind the Serpentine Gallery

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