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Dancing Architecture

By Rhizome

The English Interactive Artist Ruairi Glynn argues that architecture should not only react to people and the environment, it should interact with these forces. He's devoted himself to the study of 'Interactive Architecture,' and maintains a popular blog by that name which documents his own work and that of others. His most recent project, entitled Performative Ecologies, 'examines the potential of responsive environments to engage in gestural and performative forms of non-verbal communication and conversation [to] enter into a dialog with its inhabitants and surrounding built environment.' In this case, the spaces are inhabited by moving kinetic light sculptures monitored by cameras and computers that can learn to adjust and respond to what they witness, just as the sculptures can respond to viewers. Drawing on the vocabulary of dance, Glynn defies the fixity of traditional architectural design by refusing to 'pre-choreograph' the actions feasible in a given domain and instead craft 'systems able to evolve to changing contexts over [their] lifetime.' The installations stand beautifully on their own, but also forward a profound (and humble) proposition in calling for work able to extend 'beyond the preconceived visions of the original designers.' Videos of Glynn's Performative Ecologies can be found online. - Elizabeth Johnston

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