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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Active Matter: Choreographic Machines

Active Matter: Choreographic Machines

How can architecture become a co-performer with its inhabitants by constructing a spatial choreography? Active Matter: Choreographic Machines invites the public to interact with an ever changing kinetic environment. A participatory and performative space of dynamic bodies, both human and architectural, moving in response to each other. Suspended spatial dividers are robotically deployed using a custom built winch system, animated by machine learning trained agents and human motion sensing. What emerges is a spatial negotiation between public-performer and architecture-performer. It is experienced as an ongoing process with no beginning and no end, an endlessly unfolding event that is not predefined.

Meanwhile individual agents have a limited range of perception, when working together they become a complex system that generates a feedback loop between human and architecture. This real-time trained environment is constantly learning as participants try to adapt to its ever changing spatial dynamics.

The project’s future vision imagines a reality where architecture constantly adapts, transforms and reconfigures in response to human affective experience, aiming for a continuous conversation between the constructed physical world and our experience in it.

Exhibition images

Process images

Custom built winch system

Laser-cut tracing paper patterns assembled by hand to create modular surface

Machine learning trained agents in Unity

Pressure floor Testing with TouchDesigner interface


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Semetsky, I., (2003). An Unconscious Subject of Deleuze and Guattari, Melbourne, Monash University, Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies. ( research/papers/docs/Unconscious-Subject.pdf Accessed March 2008)

Ou, Jifei, et al. (2018). KinetiX-designing auxetic-inspired deformable material structures. Computers & Graphics 75.

Yiannoudes, Sokratis. (2010). Kinetic Digitally-Driven Architectural Structures as ‘Marginal’ Objects – a Conceptual Framework. FOOTPRINT.

Sengers, P., & Gaver, W.W. (2006). Staying open to interpretation: engaging multiple meanings in design and evaluation.

Picard, R.W., & Bryant, S. (2005). Evaluating affective interactions: Alternatives to asking what users feel.

Boehner, K., Paula, R.D., Dourish, P., & Sengers, P. (2007). How emotion is made and measured.


Special thanks

Exhibition space – FOLD London.

Music – Jesus Caparros

Movement Director – Sarah Rubidge

Cinematographer – Aurelia Bergs

Dancers – Mattia Sala, Evelynn Zhang