0106Author’s description:

a Pask’s conversation theory, dialogue is a “pruned and described entailment structure” which establishes a complex but ordered relationship between unrelated ideas or events. (Pask 1975) The project is a series of prototypes which iteratively develop a cognitive system between humans and walls akin to the manner by which humans communicate with one another by receiving information, processing that information, and then responding. This participatory engagement between two entities, human and wall, creates a dialogue, an intentional reciprocal commitment for which the capacity of communication by and with the wall can be evaluated.

Wall Parley promotes the evolution of embedded intelligence in architecture by encouraging conversation over translation. Taking inspiration from Pask’s theory – incorporating the capacity to load a complex algorithmic framework which indicates that the movement on the wall is not merely a physical change of panel components but also an expression of a non-sentient being. Though currently limited to pre-programmed responses, the algorithmically-derived behavior on the wall is reactive but not easily predictable and acts as a teaching and learning process suggesting the future evolution of the wall as an intelligent species. The potential of which is novel interactions akin to conversations between user and architecture that like its predecessors may be entertaining, comforting, or spatially accommodating.

The mechanism of this project relies on a communication loop which accommodates human behavior, machine learning and architectural design and results in conversation between human and wall. This heuristic model, including a teaching and learning strategy, associates empirical data analysis with practical experimentation to explore the possibilities of the tangible interface as “conversation”. It starts with a stimulus (motion or gesture) that can be received and evaluated by sensor systems (Kinect or Myo). Then the stimulus is translated into information streams in order to be analyzed and explained by the “Brain” of the wall. Finally, a cognitive operation is represented through physical transformations on the wall which the participant can interpret and respond to as well, instigating loop repetition and a progressive learning pattern which informs both the wall and the user.

Ultimately, Wall Parley is approaching the integration of high or strong artificial intelligence (AI) in architecture but is limited to applied AI which operates in a narrow field and produces predictable responses based on processing patterns and programming. (Schrader 2015) Though the wall is responsive as a product of its programming rather than through cognitive recognition, it provides a semiotic medium for envisioning the future where architectural elements act as autonomous intelligent instruments – capable of capturing data, interpreting it, and responding in an interactive manner.

Additionally, it allows for the behavior of humans in the presence of proto-intelligent architecture to be chronicled and inform future software development of the wall. Forthcoming iterations of Wall Parley will continue to layer the input and output mechanisms of the wall to provide increasing complex and unsupervised responses, encouraging human and wall dialogue, and redefining intelligent environments.

Pask, Gordon. 1975. Conversation, cognition and learning: A cybernetic theory and methodology. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Schrader, Christopher. 2015. Artificial Intelligence: The Next Leap in Technology. July 28. Accessed May 5, 2016. http://camelsmouth.com/2015/07/28/artificial-intelligence-and-the-end-of-the-world/.
Watkins, K. (2014, August 1). AD Interviews: Barkow Leibinger / Kinetic Wall at the Venice Biennale. Retrieved May 12, 2016, from archdaily.com: http://www.archdaily.com/533311/ad-interviews-barkow-leibinger-kinetic-wall-at-the-venice-biennale/

Leave a Reply