Sonic Acts is a biannual festival at the intersection of arts, science, music & technology.

Spaces are the lightest of media, demanding the greatest subtlety in both sensibilities and poetics. Initially trained as a physicist, Gaston Bachelard used phenomenology to build a philosophical bridge between the science of space and the poetics of making significant places. Science informed his project but did not overwhelm his subject. Concisely, Bachelard gave precedence to the qualia rather than the quanta of space.

I propose that the nature of our relation to space has changed since Bachelard’s time, requiring us to follow but also to augment Bachelard’s procedure. A ‘ladder’ of conceptions of space is offered: passive, reactive, active, interactive, transactive, each corresponding to a level of activation, namely: inaction, reaction, action, interaction, transaction. Current technologies have enabled what I call transactivated space as the newest, most advanced, and yet most minimal architectonic material, and, consequently, have made possible what I have termed invisible architectures.

Transactivated spaces constitute the fulcrum between actual spaces and virtual spaces, forming a new continuum of liquid space (actual-invisible-virtual) in search of its own phenomenology and poetics. To study this new condition, and, even more so, to make new works for it, we must bring the power and refinement of Bachelard’s phenomenological poetics of static space to a new stage, and assemble our own phenomenology of spatial experiences in which space itself is not only interactive, but is transactive, that is to say, is a party to mutually modifying transactions between equals. But, as Bachelard has shown us, space does not pose a technical problem, it poses a poetic problem. What then is the phenomenology of invisible transactivated space, what psycho-spatial experiences does it draw upon, and how do we develop a new poetics for it?

I will propose a set of phenomenological entities for transactivated space, paralleling Bachelard’s cellars, garrets, nests, shells, corners, and so on, and discuss them through a series of installation projects revolving around the theme of invisible architectures and through the ongoing work of the transLAB and AlloSphere. In particular, I will discuss my traveling exhibition Turbulent Topologies, and indicate how it creates an infinite loop between urban life, numerous aspects of invisible transactivated space, and the eventual return to the fabrication of actual, tangible form, endlessly feeding back into the lived city.

Marcos Novak (US) is a ‘transarchitect’ who disregards physical laws and the constraints of Euclidean geometry by designing spaces, and the objects that fill and create those spaces, in computer-supported virtual reality to create new forms, which he calls ‘liquid architectures’.

This lecture was part of "Session 6: Invisible Architectures".


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