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Enactive Environments

The Enactive Environments Lab 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 , to use our term, active materials. By physically engaging with them, we experiment on the threshold between the electronic and the 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. Through constructing and exploring responsive ecologies and environments, we put to the fore the experiences fostered by such materials, which incorporate lightness, adaptability, aliveness and decay.

We call such environments "enactive" in order to reflect both the direct exploration of matter during the creation 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 for/with active materials

Project Lead: Karmen Franinović

Researchers: Luke Franzke, Clemens Winkler and Verena Ziegler

Alumni: Dino Rossi and Florian Wille


Research 2011
Enactive Environments
Enactive Environments
Enactive Environments