Our projects: cultural technologies

Our main focus is to develop systems, technologies, spaces that carry cultural qualities and are exploring the possibilities in today’s networked societies. Borrowing concepts from electronic art, computer science and interaction design, we create spaces that somehow embody media, are responsive to people and are open for changing. This involves the development and software and hardware systems that allow communal and intuitive interactions and the building of malleable but tangible structures. This work today is mainly carried out through public installations (most shown at electronic art and architecture exhibitions, examples are the Venice Architecture Biennale 2004, 2006, ISEA 2004, 2006, Pixelache 2004, NTT ICC 2007) and research projects. Not buildings, thought we believe they show possibilities for future architectural uses.

Our team: a loose network

Together with Anita Pozna and Peter Hudini when we started our first projects in around 2002. We have been working as most other young offices, a team of former classmates forming a studio, working as consultants and investing time and webdesign-earned money to develop own content, experiments. Over the years we realized that working with professionals from other disciplines has a great advantage, projects are formed in collaboration, and we constantly learn from new people. This resulted that all projects we create have been produced in collaboration with others. For example Aleph, published in this issue, is a recent collaboration between Bengt Sjölén and myself.

Sharing projects: Peer production

This model is referred to in social science as Peer production, where individuals form horizontal networks per project basis. Today we consciously choose to work this way. Even thought we get many request we refuse to grow and employ people, rather continue to look for interesting professionals to create joint projects with. As peer production creates peer property, cultural content that is created in collaboration, we extensively use a licensing that allows further remixing and sharing: Creative Commons. While copyrighting prohibits reuses of cultural products, sharing it via a CC license allows derivative works, remixes, etc.

A good example of this started with a manual-booklet that Usman Haque and me wrote in 2004, called Lowtech Sensors and Actuators which was published with a CC license and was made freely available on the net. In 2006 for the Venice Architecture Biennale we used this booklet to build some of the large scale installations of Reorient which itself was licensed the same way. In 2007 spring, allowing by this licensing, Usman and me reused many actual parts from the Reorient installation to build Reconfigurable House for NTT ICC’s anniversary exhibition in Tokyo. In this example ideas and products got reused by various people over the years, and derivative work were created.

Sharing ideas: workshops

We are heavily involved in sharing our findings in workshops and institutions, that provide an important factor in our research, these are the places where we discuss ideas, develop thoughts. Some examples include our low tech hacking workshop that we gave at places like the Bartlett, London, Domus Academy, Milan, or Ars Electronica’s Electrolobby. Also this spring we were the central entity in creating Kitchen Budapest a new media research institution, where today we continue directing the content of the research. All these help to maintain a dialogue with our peers to help us in our continuos explorations.

Aether Architecture methodologies
This text was published in the spanish magazine aminima in issue 2007/5

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