single, speaker

kristian kloeckl

Kristian Klöckl, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Northeastern University, Department of Art + Design, School of Architecture

field of research: Urban interaction design

the urban improvise

The increasing pervasiveness of embedded and mobile connected digital components in urban environments has transformed what used to be a static, passive backdrop into spaces and objects that have a more fluid behavior. These objects and environments are capable of sensing, computing, and acting in real-time; they can change their behavior in relation to the state of their own system state, their histories of past actions and interactions, the behavior of humans and machines within their reach, and environmental parameters. Environments with these characteristics have the potential to become truly interactive spaces changing their behavior in response to and in anticipation of unforeseen events. Activity is sensed and interpreted. Actions are modulated, behavior adapted in response to the situation, in feedback loops, and in a continuous give and take. It is a behavior that resembles that of an improvisational performance. And improvisation is a good way to frame the possibilities for interaction in and with today’s hybrid cities. Improvisation not as doing something in a makeshift manner but rather as a process characterized by a simultaneity of both conception and presentation. Iterative and recursive operations that lead to the emergence of dynamic structures. A process that embraces complexity and overcomes binary opposites, in which order and disorder, security and risk, repetition and novelty, information and noise form a mutually constitutive relationship.

Kristian Kloeckl is Associate Professor at Northeastern University in the Department of Art + Design and the School of Architecture. Prior to coming to Northeastern, Kristian was a faculty member at the University IUAV of Venice and a research scientist leading the Real Time City Group at MIT’s Senseable City Lab as part of which he established the lab’s research unit in Singapore. There, he and his team pioneered a data platform and data visualization research initiative that brought together real time data from Singapore’s key public and private urban systems operators. As a design practitioner he has worked with companies in Austria, Germany and Italy. His work focuses on interaction design in today’s context of cities as they are becoming physical-digital hybrids in which information is, in significant ways, material, and matter is informational. He is interested in the growing complexity of the relationship between these dimensions as a consequence of people’s interaction with pervasive digital technologies in everyday environments and activities. Kristian has published books and in international journals on these issues and his work has been exhibited at venues such as MoMA, Vienna MAK, Venice Architecture Biennale, Singapore Art Museum, China Millennium Monument Museum of Digital Arts.