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A lecture at Design/Media Arts Department, UCLA, Los Angeles, Feb 6, 2008.

We know that media is becoming more environmental, but what cultural motives are driving the contemporary practice of interactive architecture? Leading museums and galleries have been early adopters of digital technologies as new tools to program space. Softspaces - custom-designed interactive installations that fulfil Toyo Ito's desire, expressed in his 1986 Tower of Winds, to create testable architecture like 'an unstable flowing body', treat the designed environment as an operating system. Users are given unprecedented potential to create personal programs while the live, supernatural quality of projects evolves fresh narratives that depend on participation for a more fully fleshed out meaning.

Suggestive rather than pre-programmed, some directly critique pervasive computing or explore how use of media like mobile phones condition our use of space. As a practice appealing equally to architects, artists and designers, 'softspace' opens up participatory games that skilfully mediate the cultural norms and customs of both urban places and social relationships.

Curator, author and critic Lucy Bullivant lectures on the potential of the custom-designed 'softspace' phenomena, presenting some of the highpoint projects of recent years from this emerging hybrid discipline.

→ Video of the event at UCLA
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