Wednesday, May 20, 2015

“The Architectural Relevance of Cybernetics”

In 1969, Pask wrote “The Architectural Relevance of Cybernetics.” He predicted that computer-aided design tools would develop into “useful instruments;” the “machine for living in” would predict the behavior of its users and residents and engage its resident’s interest — not unlike an advanced Musicolour machine–and computers would control and change the qualities of material surfaces, using sensors to return information to the computer about the interaction.He wrote:
Let us turn the design paradigm in upon itself; let us apply it to the interaction between the designer and the system he designs, rather than the interaction between the system and the people who inhabit it. The glove fits, almost perfectly in the case when the designer uses a computer as his assistant. In other words, the relation ‘controller/controlled entity’ is preserved when these omnibus words are replaced either by ‘designer/system being designed’ or by ‘systemic environment/inhabitants’ or by ‘urban plan/city’ … But notice the trick … the designer does much the same job as his system, but he operates at a higher level in the organizational hierarchy… Further, the design goal is nearly always underspecified and the ‘controller’ is no longer the authoritarian apparatus which this purely technical name brings to mind.[7]

Gordon Pask developed musical cybernetic systems that count as early cyborg hybrids. His 1953 Musicolour machine accompanied musical performers. As the performer or group played, Musicolour responded with lights and movement to the music would change, creating a sort of hypnotic effect for those who played with it. But if the performer became too repetitive and did not engage the machine enough, Musicolour would grow bored and stop responding—the first cybernetic art system to do so
 Turning the design paradigm upon itself produces a new form of architecture. Internalizing the lessons of cybernetics externalizes the possibilities for architecture and for art to respond to the people that engage with it — as we will see with architect Cedric Price’s collaborations with Pask.

Cedric price, 
The Generator, an early investigation into artificially intelligent architecture, was designed with no specific program, but only a desired end-effect, in mind.
edric Price explored a type of architecture that, like medicine, would operate less as a remedy for the ills of society and more as a preventive system, creating flexible conditions previously thought impossible within a socially beneficial environment. This complicated project, for which many drawings and diagrams were made, was essentially a system of cubelike elements that could be moved and combined with others or with additional elements to create temporary structures for a rehearsal or performance space, housing, or just contemplation within a lush natural setting. The computer would encourage the visitor to continually refine and improve his or her design. In fact, change and artistic freedom are the underlying ideas of the Generator; they were considered prerequisites, and the computer was to be programmed to make unsolicited alterations should the framework remain static. Price's intricate scheme to provide an environment dedicated to nurturing the arts was never built.

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