Harvard Design Magazine has now published our article on the way the theory of affordances developed in our philosophical VIDI-project has contributed to RAAAF’s award winning End of Sitting landscape of standing affordances. The paragraph below gives an impression of the philosphical ideas behind this enactive art installation.
“Can we use this soliciting power of relevant affordances to make healthier working environments? Can we create new material affordances that solicit different activities? Recent philosophical work on affordances in embodied cognitive science defined affordances more precisely:
“Affordances are relations between aspects of a material environment and abilities available in a form of life”, which includes socio-cultural practices in our human case (Rietveld & Kiverstein, 2014, p. 335).
This definition suggested to us, the Amsterdam-based multidisciplinary studio RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances], that it should be possible to piggyback on peoples’ existing abilities for standing, leaning and hanging to create new affordances for working in all sorts of supported positions. Moreover, from studies on affordances in ecological dynamical-systems theory we know that offering a large variety of affordances can help create an environment that invites roaming around in a certain area (see Bruineberg & Rietveld, 2014 on “metastability” and action readiness). The combination of these ideas let to the End of Sitting, a large, spatial art installation that offers an entire landscape of (body-scaled) affordances that scaffold working in many different positions and invites people to switch positions frequently.”
Download the paper here:
Rietveld, E., Rietveld, R., Mackic, A., Van Waalwijk van Doorn, E., Bervoets, B. (2015), The End of Sitting, Harvard Design Magazine 40, pp. 180-181.
NYC based Metropolis magazine has elected RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art-Affordances] as New Talent for its combination of architecture and philosopy in works and conceptual installations that highlight urgent societal and cultural issues and are described by the magazine as: “Strangely poetic, if haunting.” “The genius of RAAAF is in its strategic interventions that, though small, invite viewers to imagine a completely different way of living”
Former Venice Biennale curator Aaron Betsky had nominated RAAAF and emphasized the importance of their architecture of affordances: “They have been at the forefront in the development of an architecture of affordances, designing potentials and activators rather than mere enclosures.”
“A theory of affordance lets us understand buildings not as objects, but as environments that afford us possibilities, that open and enclose, that respond and give us clues, and that do not differentiate themselves into the duality of inside and outside, form and space, structure and enclosure. If that theory lets us create architecture that is more human, that allows us to be at home in the modern world, and that opens us up to each other and the world we have made together, then it is a useful design tool.”
Well known philosophy journal Phenomenology & the Cognitive Sciences has accepted our paper on optimal grip on affordances in RAAAF’s architectural design practices. It is based on Anne Brouwers’ ethnography as an embedded researcher at RAAAF ‘s studio.
This paper will be interesting for philosophers of enactive/embodied cognitive science, philosophers working on distributed cognition and architects/artists curious about RAAAF’s way of working and affordance-based architecture more generally.
Our enactive architectural art installation The End of Sitting (by RAAAF | Barbara Visser) won an important international prize in the world of interior architecture and industrial design: The Great Indoors Award!
The jury recognized the radical potental of our enactive art installation:
“The award winners display a radical […] approach.” “Although all submissions to the competition are thoughtful and well executed, not all of them push the boundaries and show us new ideas. This project is a prototype and a wonderfully creative attempt to think spatially about future workscapes. [T]he design is not about taste but about the subject being addressed. Will we, in 20 or 50 years, be working while leaning over, lying down or standing up?”
-Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London
-Nora Fehlbaum is Co-CEO and Member of the Board of Vitra
-Alexis Georgacopoulos is director of ECAL- Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne
-Brendan Cormier, curator Victoria and Albert Museum London
CNN visited our installation The End of Sitting -Cut Out at the Chicago Architecture Biennale. CNN’s news item is about how architecture can radically transform our lived experience:
International reviews and media attention of our enactive art installation can be found here.
On March 23 2015, the Society of Arts of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts & Science (KNAW) organized a night around Barbara Visser’s movie on our joint project The End of Sitting in collaboration with Looiersgracht 60. The title of her movie is The End of Siting 1:1 – A projection. This movie uses the audio recordings of two expert meetings I organized last November in Amsterdam to discuss this new enactive art installation.
The End of Sitting is a large spatial installation at the crossroads of visual art, architecture, philosophy and empirical science.
In our society almost the entirety of our surroundings have been designed for sitting, while evidence from medical research suggests that too much sitting has adverse health effects. RAAAF [Rietveld Architecture-Art Affordances] and visual artist Barbara Visser have developed a concept wherein the chair and desk are no longer unquestionable starting points. Instead, the installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape.
The End of Sitting marks the beginning of an experimental trial phase, exploring the possibilities of radical change for the working environment. This project is a spatial follow-up of the recently released mute animation ‘Sitting Kills‘ by RAAAF | Barbara Visser, developed as a vision on the workspace of 2025, commissioned by the Chief Government Architect of the Netherlands. Moreover, the art installation is the visual component of Erik Rietveld’s philosophical research project titled ‘The Landscape of Affordances: Situating the Embodied Mind’; the installation visualizes the philosophical notion of a Landscape of (Standing) Affordances. You can find a link to the philosophical paper on the landscape of affordances in this earlier post.
The End of Sitting is a collaboration with Looiersgracht 60, a new space for art and science in Amsterdam. Gibsonian ecologicla psychologist Dr. Rob Withagen of the University of Groningen (Center for Human Movement Sciences / University Medical Center) has studied 1) how people use the landscape of standing affordances and 2) how the amount of movement and 3) productivity compare to working in a traditional open office setting. The experiment on the rock of standing affordances has been recorded with 4 camera’s. The subjects’ use of standing affordances and data on productivity are currently being analyzed by Dr. Withagen. They expect to publish the findings on affordance use and productivity next spring.