M+M Program in Media and Modernity presents
Larry D. Busbea
“Pattern Watchers: Environmental Response c. 1970”
[interlocutor: Victoria Bugge Øye]
Tuesday, March 2, 2021 @5pm EST
Online Event [register here or stream here]
Before a new class of designers could begin to conceive of “responsive environments” as particular types of technical and aesthetic objects, new models of environmental response were necessary. These coalesced in the 1960s and 70s in many different disciplines, but always with the understanding that environment was becoming visible in ways it hadn’t previously; and that, by becoming perceptible it was becoming designable. However, the promised accessibility of environment never seemed to materialize, and would-be observers and designers were consigned to a compulsive search for the traces, imprints, and after-images of environmental interaction, i.e. patterns.
This presentation will bring together some of the key approaches and insights of the book The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics & The Human in the 1970s. The work of Serge Boutourline, Jr. will be given as an example of the attempt to confirm the presence of a conditioning environment, and to optimize and redesign its elusive patterns.
Larry D. Busbea is Professor of Art History at the University of Arizona, Tucson where his research focuses on the interactions of architecture, art and critical theory in Europe and the United States after WWII. He is the author of Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970 (MIT Press, 2007), The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics, and the Human in the 1970s (University of Minnesota Press, 2020), and Proxemics and the Architecture of Social Interaction (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2020).
Victoria Bugge Øye is a PhD candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture at Princeton University. Her field of research includes American and European architecture post-1945 and its intersections with discourses of science, medicine and psychology. Her dissertation, “Mind-Body Architecture: Coop Himmelblau and the Making of Environmental Health, 1967-77,” examines how new welfare state policies and emerging concerns about the environment in the late 1960s helped forge interdisciplinary collaborations between architecture and medicine to establish the field of environmental health in Austria.