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Enactive Environments

The Enactive Environments research group explores notions of agency, materiality and interactivity, from practical and theoretical perspective. We are interested in kinds of activities and relations emerging when creating with or experiencing so-called responsive or active materials. By physically engaging with them, we experimented with the threshold between the electronic and mechanic, the analog and the digital. The physical properties of such materials allow us to design and to think form, behaviour and interaction as one. Meanwhile, as we put to the fore the human experience fostered by such materials, be it in a sculptural or spatial form, we examine a new kind of responsive environment that incorporates lightness, adaptability, aliveness and decay.

We call such environments enactive in order to reflect both the direct exploration of matter during the design process and the exploratory experience of inhabitants of such spaces. Enactive stands for an embodied and situated type of knowledge that is engaged in both tacit creative processes and physical interaction with our surroundings. Thus, it relates both to the creative hands-on processes and the experience of the user. Theories of enactive cognition show that the world helps guide or modulate action that, in turn, continuously results in the body realigning and remaking that world. Thus, by shaping our environment, architects, designers and artists affect the way in which we explore, learn, experience and interact with things, spaces and people.

The project merges the following research areas:

  • poetics of active materials and structures
  • entaglement of material, environmental and human agencies
  • research-creation methods for/with active material

Project Lead: Karmen Franinović

Researchers: Luke Franzke, Clemens Winkler, Verena Ziegler and Dino Rossi