ARC 619 – Tempered Environments

Instructor: Albert Chao
ARC 619
Spring 2021


Hans Haacke’s 1965 Condensation Cube is a sealed plexiglass container with water. As a physical object, it exemplifies a closed environmental system; water is in a constant state of evaporation and condensation. Beyond the cube and situated within the museum context, the reading of the piece expands to engage and critique a different environment: the institutional setting, the highly controlled environment, and the space of cultural valuation and exchange.

In dialogue with the Condensation Cube, the ambition of the class is to draw, model, and build physical and digital prototypes to explore tempered environments. The class will seek to materialize the ephemeral and the seemingly imperceptible. We will situate the work within a larger historical and theoretical framework of Reyner Banham’s The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment. We will engage with microprocessors, sensors, actuators, material properties, and perceptual experiences as tools used for sensing. We will investigate the role of softness and programmability in relation to technology. We will explore the role of software in relationship to physical prototypes and assemblies.  

We will first build a prototype with a specified environmental thermal task. As the class unfolds, the first prototype becomes a site of reinvention, as we continually readapt and repurpose the enclosure in a successive series of tasks. Each iterative reinvention will explore one specific modality of sensing that include temperature, light, movement, and interaction. We will explore multiple approaches to interactivity, flexibility, and adaptation as we rebuild the prototype. With each exploration, we will also develop interactive digital models that explore a larger networked system.

ARC 605 – Fidelity and Tolerance

Instructor: Nicholas Bruscia | Type: Studio
This studio will research the potential advantages and pitfalls of integrating mixed reality (MR) into well-established methods of handwork in a variety of contexts (local craft, manufacturing workflow, material production, etc).

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ARC 625 – Fabricating the Real

Instructor: Mark Shepard | Type: Seminar
This course surveys the cultural history of VR, AR and MR, focusing on their ontological and epistemological implications regarding conceptions of “the real.”

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ARC 617 – Fusing Dimensions

Instructors: Randy Fernando and Shawn Chiki
Type: Seminar
This course utilizes experiential learning methods to address how designers can interface the
nuances of real and virtual environments during the creative process.

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