Multi media installations which deal
with "cyberspace" and "virtual reality" are generally unable to forge a convincing
link between the realm of the corporal body and the realm of the digital. An immersive
environment is stereotypically assumed to be one in which the user becomes disassociated
from normal sensory input. To inhabit virtual reality, one is normally asked to
suspend disbelief and abandon all one's "real" experience by synthetically hooking
up to a computer which fabricates erszat sensory data. In this way, movement,
vision, touch and sound (etc.) can be digitally fabricated to create new and compelling
experience. The problem with this is that, as far as we are able to currently
conceive, one can never fully abandon the gnawing knowledge that this is being
actualized, not within the convincing realm of our innate consciousness, but rather,
in a black box remote from the site of the body.
This installation very clearly positions itself as an attempt to redefine the
notion of an immersive environment. Fully immersive should mean that the raw physicality
of actual space can become infused and enmeshed with the digital, not a condition
of abandoning the body as the necessary cost of experiencing cyberspace. The computer,
as conceived in gooey architecture provides a link between the concrete and the
virtual, seamlessly folding the two into a complicated and rich and radically
new conception of architecture.
A truly intelligent architecture could be one that dynamically responds to the
shifting presence and composition of users within a space. A truly interactive
architecture would be one that can change configuration fluidly to accommodate
evolving site specific conditions. We can begin to conceptualize such a truly
radical and revolutionary architecture that responds to the sort of redefinition
of social expectations brought on by the rise of digital technology and digital
Gooey architecture is an important project because it is an exploration of basic
phenomenological experiences of spatial and virtual realities. Each of us who
"jacks" into the internet is faced with the gaping chasm between the virtual community
of chat rooms and book-marked homepages and the neighborhoods which exist in physical
reality in and around our homes.
Gooey architecture is an interactive architecture meant to blurr these distinctions
between the virtual and the concrete. In so doing, the very notion of community
itself can be redefined. For example, at the site of the installation itself,
a group of up to five or six persons can be accommodated. Thus, a "community"
of users at any given time will collaborate together to produce the unfolding
environment at any instant since the computer will mediate the sum of responses
from people moving about its space.