Still image of Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments - 7 parts

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 1: Introduction


The first video section is a general introductory talk

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 2: Usman Haque

Usman Haque

Usman Haque is an architect specialising in responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and mass participation performances. His skills include the design of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life.

His principal projects include Open Burble, commissioned by the Singapore Biennale 2006, Evolving Sonic Environment with Robert Davis of the Psychology Department, Goldsmiths College (displayed in its latest version at the Netherlands New Media Institute, 2007), Project Unspecified, a low tech inflatable in Washington Square Park, New York City (2007) and Reconfigurable House with Adam Somlai-Fischer/Aether Architecture and the Reorient team, on display at ICC, Tokyo until March 2008.

As well as directing the work of Haque Design + Research, Usman has also taught in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London.

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 3: Despina Papadopoulos

Despina Papadopoulos

Despina Papadopoulosis an interaction designer and the founder of Studio 5050, an interdisciplinary design and consultancy practice based in New York.

A graduate of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and with an MA in Philosophy, she has lectured extensively on wearable computing and its uses in everyday life. Her work has appeared in museums and galleries around the world, and featured in many publications and magazines. She is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, teaching ‘Personal Expression and Wearable Technologies’ and ‘The Softness of Things’, courses she has developed.

Despina is currently working on the Studio’s first capsule collection of eight interactive garments that celebrate the beauty and magic of technology traced through history and culture.

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 4: Jason Bruges

Jason Bruges

Jason Bruges Studio, founded in London in 2001, creates surfaces, spaces and large scale interventions involving architecture, installation art and interaction design. Innovative technologies are adapted from a variety of industries and coupled with materials and fabrication techniques from the construction industry.

Recent clients include Tate Britain, V&A, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Allen and Overy, the London Architecture Biennale, Puerta America Hotel, Madrid, the Cultural Quarter of Leicester and onedotzero on George Michael’s latest 25 Live tour. Jason trained at Oxford Brookes University and the Bartlett School of Architecture (University College of London), and worked with Foster & Partners for three years and with Imagination as a senior interactive design consultant before establishing his own studio.

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 5: Daan Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde

Daan Roosegaarde sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts AKI in Enschede, The Netherlands, and took a Master’s degree in Architecture at the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam. Based in Rotterdam, his Studio Roosegaarde founded in 2006 initiates, researches and realises art and technology projects, functioning as a laboratory in which, for each project, new alliances are made with software engineers, materials manufacturers and cultural foundations.

Projects explore the dynamic relationship between architecture, people and new media, and are a collision of technology and the human body. The Studio is currently developing artworks such as Liquid 2.0 and Dune 4.0 shown at the Netherlands Media Art Institute in 2006/7 and in the Maastunnel, Rotterdam as part of the Rotterdam Architecture Biennale 2007, as a series called Liquid Constructions. Roosegaarde’s projects have been shown in international exhibitions at V2, Netherlands Media Art Institute and the 5th Triennale, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 6: Lev Manovich

Lev Manovich

Lev Manovich is the author of Soft Cinema: Navigating the Database (The MIT Press, 2005), and The Language of New Media (The MIT Press, 2001) which is hailed as ‘the most suggestive and broad ranging media history since Marshall McLuhan’. Manovich is a Professor of Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego and a Director of The Lab for Cultural Analysis at California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology

Softspace: Contemporary Interactive Environments – Part 7: Panel discussion

Panel discussion

The seventh and final video section is a general panel discussion

The physically permanent identity of architecture has helped to define society for centuries. Now some practitioners have disengaged from tectonics as we traditionally understand it and are taking their discipline into the realms of ‘softspace’, a more fluid, ephemeral form of digitally-enabled design based on personalised experiences and responses. Softspace deploys new spatial systems including wearable computing, wifi, RFID and custom-designed digital software incorporating light, heat, sound and electromagnetic fields. These not only rely on people’s individual ways of interacting with them, but are enriched by narratives people contribute, creating new metaphors of use. Responsive environmental strategies of this kind have increasingly colonised museums and galleries like Tate, the Science Museum and the V&A.

While the notion of a fantasy world made possible ‘on demand’ by new technologies is the theme of films like Minority Report and ExistenZ, contemporary softspace projects play a more subtle and open-ended influence on contemporary socio-spatial dynamics and our sensing abilities. Architects Usman Haque, Jason Bruges and Daan Roosegaarde and designer Despina Papadopoulos discuss the cultural implications of their work with Tate Modern curator Jane Burton and curator, author and critic Lucy Bullivant, guest editor of 4dsocial: Interactive Design Environments (AD/Wiley, 2007). Lev Manovich, the ground-breaking new media art theorist, is a keynote speaker.

Supported by Wiley/AD and The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands