Thinking/Creating with Active Materials

Alive Spaces

Experiments from Alive Spaces workshops

New kinds of responsive materials are active in themselves: they can self-illuminate (electroluminescent paper) or self-move (electroactive polymers). What do such materials want to do? What kinds of shapes and structures are possible? What applications?

We will explore the application of smart materials and their ability to transform space into responsive, adaptive products and environments. We will develop a speculative model for membrane structures that exhibit properties of sensitivity, resilience, and decay. By physically building active materials and engaging their behaviours, we experiment with the threshold between the electronic and mechanic, the analog and the digital. This course is based on a do-it-yourself approach: rather than purchasing sophisticated active materials, students will make them ourselves and integrate them in a project.