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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Co-network——Rendering the invisible visible

“Human being is an organism which confronts its world with a mechanism for making indications to itself. ”(HERBERT BLUMER) When we “response”, we “define” each other’s actions, designating different objects and giving them meaning. The process of sharing common definitions, aligning of individual actions make up human society. Thus, human interaction is mediated by the use of symbols, by interpretation, or by ascertaining the meaning of one another’s actions. This mediation is equivalent to inserting a process of interpretation between stimulus and response in the case of human behavior.

Simulation of Installation

However, the fact of understanding and being influenced by the environment is often neglected . In the same way, personal influence as an embodiment of the relationship between people is also very abstract. We tried to create a mediation to visualize the individual’s agency and telling the story of the invisible power in our daily life.

Concept generation

“Co-network” is the symbolic mediation visualise the “moving communicative process”, in which each acting unit (pulsing balloon) notes stimulation, determines the action, and influences the environment. We use simple dynamic movement——inflating or deflating of balloons to simulate the relationship between individuals.

Part List of the installation

Selecting the specific kind of mediation is a longterm. We researched from scalable structure to origami air muscles and finally decided to use pneumatic actuator for the advantage of it’s interact-friendly and effectively controlled formulation. For the further development, we are going to apply the Cellular Automata structure for our control system to closer the simulation of real state. We aimed to build up a behaviour-based system and set up each acting unit as individual agent. In the future test, the “defining rules” can be sound, heat, distance, pressure… forming the collective actions by co-network performance and rendering the invisible visible.

Future development


  • Was, J., 2014. Cellular Automata. [Place of publication not identified]: Springer.
  • 2020. Reading: Symbolic Interactionist Theory | Sociology. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 April 2020].
  •  Pagel-Hogan, E. and Da Re, G., n.d. From The Bottom Up.
  •  Mills, D., n.d. Pneumatic Conveying Design Guide.

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