The All River Species Act 2021

A collaborative world and policy building project. 2021 - Ongoing

This is an ongoing collaborative world and policy building project exploring the possibilities that legal frameworks, artificial intelligence and indigenous philosophies offer to build better relationships with non-human life.

Launched in the frame of FIBER festivals Reassemble Lab: ‘Weaving With Worlds’ 2021, this project takes as its starting point the granting of legal personhood to the Whanganui River on the North Island of New Zealand. By combining storytelling and natural language processing we consider the potential of world-building tools to give imagination to much needed socio-ecological transformations in light of these developments in environmental law.


Our process began by trying to find a voice or voices for the river. We explored the inadequacies of legal frameworks and, by extension, the abilities and constraints of language to accurately capture and define a river ecosystem in all its facets. We pondered where a river begins and ends: exploring the perspectives, experiences and happenings in the lives of non-human dwellers. We explored Indigenous ways of being with rivers, interweaving rituals and stories. We try to capture the songs, spirits and the many voices that co-exist in simultaneity within river worlds. We are exploring ways of decentering ourselves as the creators by collaborating with GPT2 generated text, sound collaborations with AI and 3D imagery.  Through these questions and processes we have created two river spirits and explored a virtual rivers world in Unreal engine for these spirits to inhabit. We have created our own serious yet playful legal river policy framework and processes for engaging with rivers in their totality. And we have developed and presented a workshop and a river field trip audio guide.

Current project outcomes

The All Rivers Species Act 2021 policy document. 

Working with the GPT2-AI we created a collaborative policy document. Texts from GPT2 were curated, edited and structured by our human team members, into a cohesive whole.  Read it here.


An audio-visual response

Combining river spirits, AI generated text and audio collected in collaboration with algorithms and manipulated by our team we created an audio-visual response.  You can view the video below.


A workshop

‘The Rivers Journey: a guided river interaction’ was held at FIBER Festival 28 + 30 October 2021.  This was a collaborative river understanding workshop.   


A guided river field trip kit

Build a better relationship and connect with your local river.  Download the field trip kit here.




I contributed to this project in the following ways:

  • Project instigator and manager.
  • Training of a GPT-2 model.
  • Generation of AI texts and structuring of the Act document.
  • Animation of 3D models in Blender. Animation and video editing – Adobe Premier and Aftereffects.
  • Development and presentation of the workshop.
  • Creator and voice for the river field trip audio guide.

Project Team

  • Ibelisse Guardia Ferragutti,
  • Jenny Hadley,
  • Lily McCraith,
  • Cristina Napoleone,
  • Nayeli Vega,
  • Jemma Woolmore
  • and GPT2.