Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

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FWF | PEEK project
led by Wolfgang Tschapeller, Institute for Art and Architecture

The history of architecture, so the point of departure of this project, is a history of space and its interaction with the human figure, and not only a history of buildings. From the Vitruvian man (22 B. C.) to Le Corbusier's Modulor (1948) and Marcos Novak's Liquid Architecture (1991), architects have used the human figure to conceptualize space. But just as classical science traditionally conceived space as an inert force, so architecture has depicted space as a passive entity, not affected by human activity. In the light of current scientific re-conceptualizations (Barad, 2007) and the need to comprehend our rapidly changing and digitally enabled contemporary habitat, philosophers (Massumi 2002; Sloterdijk, 2009) architect theoreticians (Teyssot, 2004; Kwinter, 2013) and artists (Graham, 1979; Gabriel, 1993; Pomassl, 2002; Atlas, 2013; Mitchell, 2014) have drawn attention to the inadequacy of representing space as an inert and passive entity. They have called for architecture and the arts to elaborate the dynamic relationship between space and human activity in the digital era as two-way interaction. At the same time, revolutionary developments in interactive and artificially intelligent technologies are fundamentally changing the way space is produced.

To date, however, there has been no sustained architectural research into the question of how such theories and technologies can provide a two-way interaction and meaningful engagement with the new types of spaces enabled by digital systems. Contemporary architectural renditions of space powerfully represent this relationship as a passive entity defined by the constraints of geometric space articulated to the human body, even if digitally designed. The proposed project will show how new aesthetic and technological frameworks overcome the limitations of these existing genres and representations responding to current scientific and philosophical redefinitions of space. Specifically, it will investigate the integration of dialogical interactive aesthetics (Barker, 2012) between human and digital agents based on their behavioral interaction within immersive visualization systems (Scheer, 2011). Dialogical interactive aesthetics allow human participants to spatially interact with intelligent digital characters in a two-way relationship that actively changes space. Immersive visualization systems allow human participants to actively envelop themselves in spatial dynamics rather than being passive observers. These systems allow space to be artistically researched and aesthetically reformulated as a two-way interaction between human and digital agents within an immersive setting.

Using the new dynamic interrelationship between the human participants and digital characters as a point of departure, the project investigates how the interactions between these produce an entirely new type of space, an intra-space, actively created through intra-action, dynamically changed through the process of interaction. By integrating these systems the project pioneers the experimental representation of contemporary architectural space.