One of the enduring points of reference at CAN is the Interactive Architecture Lab, the London-based research group and Masters program at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Founded by Ruairi Glynn, it draws from both the rich legacy of cybernetics and bold multidisciplinary practice in London architectural education. Regardless of whether you know the lab by name or not, you’ve seen some of their responsive objects, performances, and installations; machine-dancer collaborative choreographies, polyhedral garden robots, and (most recently) demonstrated by the selection of the VR project Palimpsest as our ‘reader’s choice’ favourite and most memorable project of 2016.
Glynn and his collaborators have just launched an academic programme at the Bartlett: Design for Performance & Interaction (DfPI). Given this new initiative, it is an optimal moment to check in with him about the mandate of the program and how it was informed by work produced under his watch in the past. Touching on where performance starts and ends, identifying some key precedents, engaging in some earnest reflection on the state of speculative design and critical making in the UK educational scene, and even pragmatically ruminating on the necessity of video documentation, our exchange with Glynn provides a great overview of the thinking underlying the fledgling programme.