An inquiry into the ontology of responsiveness: Assessing embodiment and human-machine interaction in responsive environments

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Turkey

Approval Date: 2011




Advances in communication and information technologies, as well as recent developments in computer technology, material research and sensor networks instigate the studies on active and dynamic environments, which call for the participation of the human and the machine in the definition of responsiveness in architecture. The thesis aims to provide for an ontological inquiry on responsiveness and responsive environments by undertaking an overview of the extensive interest in the responsive experience in architecture. It scrutinizes the field of responsive environments with a particular focus on the machinic approaches that (re)problematize the human-machine interaction. For this purpose, the thesis relates the concept of responsiveness with the machinism debate and considers the associations between the body, the human-machine interaction and the condition of embodiment in responsive environments. The machinism debate is discussed in reference to responsiveness and assesses the issue of embodiment and human-machine interaction in responsive environments. By reflecting on the human-machine interaction, the re-conceptualization of the issue of embodiment is rendered in reference to the body, the definition of which arises from the relations between the body, the environment and the machine, continuously updated during their interaction. The thesis identifies this altered concept of the body as a significant stimulation for new modes of human-machine interaction as it enables the embodiment of relations in relation to the body and initiates the re-conceptualization of both embodiment and human-machine interaction. In this respect, the thesis presents an assessment of the nature of human-machine interaction and its re-problematization in responsive environments, where the challenged conditions of body and embodiment are discussed in reference to debates in the philosophy of mind on different interpretations of the mind-body relationship. Referring to particular examples from different periods and contexts, the consequences of embracing machinic approaches in the definition of responsive environments are considered, where the dissolution of dichotomies between human and machine, subject and object, human and non-human, and mind and body are questioned in line with these transformations.