thumbnail-usman01.jpg Sky Ear
Sky Ear
Open Source Architecture Performance
Open Source Architecture Performance
thumbnail-usman04.jpg Floatables
thumbnail-usman06.jpg thumbnail-usman07.jpg Scents of Space
Scents of Space

Lecture by Usman Haque

May 7, 2005, 15:00-17:00
M┼▒csarnok (Kunsthalle Budapest)
(the lecture is held in english and addmission is free of charge)


NextLab is happy to welome Usman Haque from Haque design and research to lecture in Budapest. Usman Haque has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and choreographed performances. His skills include the design of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. He has been an invited researcher at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, Italy, artist-in-residence at the International Academy of Media Arts and Sciences, Japan and has also worked in USA, UK and Malaysia. As well as directing the work of Haque Design + Research he is currently teaching in the Interactive Architecture Workshop at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London.

Soft Spaces in Architecture
The domain of architecture has been transformed by developments in interaction research, wearable computing, mobile connectivity, people-centered design, contextual awareness, RFID systems and ubiquitous computing. These technologies alter our understanding of space and change the way we relate to each other. We no longer think of architecture as static and immutable; instead we see it as dynamic, responsive and conversant. Usmans projects explore some of this territory.

Project extracts

Sky Ear is a non-rigid carbon-fibre "cloud", embedded with one thousand glowing helium balloons and several dozen mobile phones. The balloons contain miniature sensor circuits that respond to electromagnetic fields, particularly those of mobile phones. When activated, the sensor circuits co-ordinate to cause ultra-bright coloured LEDs to illuminate. The 30m cloud glows and flickers brightly as it floats across the sky.

Open Source Architecture
Architecture may be thought of as a combination of static 'hardware' and dynamic 'software'. Pushing the analogy further, architecture could be considered an 'operating system' within which people write their own programmes for spatial interaction. One model of operating system that is particularly relevant to architecture (since the design of space is always collaborative) is an open source system.

The aim of the floatable jellyfish-like vessels that drift around cities is to create temporary, ephemeral zones of privacy: an absence of phone calls, emails, sounds, smells and thermal patterns left behind by others. Through various electrical systems they are also able to prevent access of GPS devices, television broadcasts, wireless networks and other microwave emissions. Finally, by creating a "blurry barrier" and a ground-plane camouflage pattern, they provide shielding from the unembarrassed gaze of security cameras and surveillance satellites.

Scents of Space
An interactive smell system that allows for three-dimensional placement of fragrances without dispersion (With J Pletts and Dr L Turin).

Airflow within the space is generated by an array of fans. Moving air is then controlled by a series of diffusion screens to provide smooth and continuous laminar airflow. Computer-controlled fragrance dispensers and careful air control enable parts of the space to be selectively scented without dispersing through the entire space.

Texts are extracts from

This lecture is organised by Nextlab, for more information contact:

Adam Somlai-Fischer
+36 30 540 52 04
e-mail: adam at aether hu