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August 08, 2006

Responsive Environments:


Architecture, Art and Design

Responsive Environments: Architecture, Art and Design by Lucy Bullivant :: Responsive environments - by definition spaces that interact with the people who use them, pass through them or by them - have in a very short space of time become ubiquitous. Not just confined to the fantasy worlds of films ... digital technology-enabled spaces, notoriously employing unprecedented levels of CCTV as well as demonstrating the seemingly infinite powers of multimedia, have invaded our lives, fundamentally affecting the identity of public, corporate, retail and cultural spaces, and connecting remote environments ...

Artistic manifestations of the use of digital technology in physical spaces are growing. Electronic billboards have been around for decades, but now the concept of connectivity has also literally seeped into the skins of buildings in new ways. Artists - and architects working in hybrid fields on interactive projects - are responding to the electro-physical flux of urban environments, coopting responsive dynamic media systems, wireless sensing, wearable computing and even topological media. They proactively consult scientific institutions to dig deeper into their environmental interests, and are not interested in 'tech' or smart spaces for the sake of it, but to create environments that act as mediating devices for a new social statement.

While IT applied purely commercially for applications and products always focuses on new technologies' speed and efficiency, the responsive projects featured in this book - many of them using low-tech elements - engage through experiment with our wishes and bodily sensations on an existential level. Our bodies are able to directly experience their environment in a very direct and personal way.

A number of young architects have chosen to create interactive spaces instead of designing and constructing buildings in a more traditional sense. Their interests now overlap strongly with those of designers and artists resulting in a shift in priorities which transcends objects, to reinvent design as more of an event-based installation concept - an approach that is of huge value now that the best museums, galleries and visitor attractions are striving to open up more participatory ways of engaging their publics.

Drawing on interviews by the author with the designers, architects and artists featured - including Jason Bruges, Lars Spuybroek, Scott Snibbe, Diller + Scofidio, Ben Rubin, Rafael Lozano Hemmer, David Small, Christian Moeller, Usman Haque, HeHe, Electronic Shadow, Shona Kitchen and Ben Hooker, Stefano Mirti and Walter April, Casson Mann, Golan Levin, Sponge (Chris Salter, Sha Xin Wei, Laura Farabo), Toyo Ito, UN Studio, Mark Goulthorpe, Toshio Iwai and KDa, Maywa Denki, Sociable Media Group (MIT), d-squared, Allofus, Kas Oosterhuis, Tobi Schneidler, Décosterd + Rahm, Realities:united, Adam Somlai-Fischer and Mette Ramsgard Thomsen - this unique account sheds fresh light on the way new technologies are being harnessed, amidst a cultural context of growing multidisciplinary activity in art, architecture and design during the last 15 years. [via]

Posted by jo at August 8, 2006 01:31 PM