Body Tailored Space

Nancy Diniz

Configuring Space through Embodiment

With this project we propose that embodiment can be more emphasized and better supported in space-design frameworks. We present background on several theories of embodiment since the beginning of the twentieth century from different intellectuals to recent developments of the concept in tangible and social computing and anticipate that this reveals pathways for designing new embodiment framework systems for architecture. In this paper we suggest that architecture and interactive computing can share a common theoretical foundation in embodied interaction. The main thesis is for designers to use the body as an interface; to understand how the interaction between a person and his/her surroundings arises and how our embodiment reveals other rich spatial qualities during the conception phase of design. This paper proposes a conceptual framework for embodied interaction based on the creation of real-time systems in order to instigate a framework for interactive processes that can help designers understand architecture phenomena and the performance of space. We present a design experiment on embodied performance space entitled "Body Tailored Space" where the boundaries of the human body are metaphorically extended into surrounding membranes.

"Body Tailored Space" suggests a conceptual framework for spatial interactions that evolve their own expressive performance producing a continuous transformation. The system has a responsive membrane controlled by a genetic algorithm that reconfigures its behaviour and learns to adapt itself continually to the evolutionary properties of the environment, thus becoming "a situated, living piece". Participants here approach the environment outside of a goal-oriented frame, aiming to experience a new social, ambiences or moods that will affect a physical wall in an evolutionary fashion. All the necessary and sufficient conditions are therefore present for a hidden dimension to be added to a phenomenology and a poetics of visual space.

Keywords. Embodiment; embodied interaction; interactive skins; phenomenology; cybernetics.

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