Reaction: How To Assess A Would-Be Interaction

To measure the exhibition on display at a/d/o last week against Hugh Dubberly, Paul Pangaro & Usman Haque’s definitions of interaction (as posited in their co-authored research paper What is interaction? Are there different types?would be to measure the magnitudes of failure on behalf of theLondon School of Architechture students responsible for its existence.

What seemed as though it could have been a thought-provoking exploration of a shifting neighborhood demographic instead became a static fabrication that left little to the imagination and at least this attendee hoping for a larger emotional connection. Their documentation was also terrible.

The machine -effectively a glorified bicycle (which as a process from blueprint to working prototype within the span of ten days was the lone accolade anyone could offer the project) -collected (as opposed to collects because it is no longer in use nor was it built for longevity) samples of neighborhood “artifacts”, and then displayed them in a fabricated museum setting.

What the machine didn’t do was interact with anyone or thing in the environment from which it was collecting said artifacts. What appeared to be a valiant attempt to decipher gentrification and its myriad effects (some positive, mostly negative) was instead a myopic execution without mission or vision beyond its literal purpose.

Rather than focusing on the minutia of machinery -in this case their literal wheelhouse- I would have liked to see the students question the presence of their collected artifacts within the context of the neighborhood. Why are these artifacts so important? Why do we care to see them displayed? What do they represent and how could the answer to that question spark a conversation? The mission should have been more anthropology and less machinery. More connective and less observational. We should have got a conversation piece. Instead we got a non-starter.

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