• The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics, and the Human in the 1970s
    Larry D. Busbea
    University of Minnesota Press, 2019
    Larry D. Busbea

Pulsa, Sculpture Garden installation for "Spaces," 1970, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Courtesy of Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

The Responsive Environment historicizes the emergence of new models of human-environment response in architecture, design, art, technology, media, and the sciences. Theories of subject formation, participatory aesthetics, and computational control are tracked through psychology, anthropology, media and critical theory, and through design disciplines and art practices that collectively gave rise to myriad proposals for responsive environments that could sense and react to changing inputs or user needs. New models of environmental perception, patterning, and interaction as elaborated by Gregory Bateson, Warren Brodey, James J. Gibson, Edward T. Hall, Wolf Hilbertz, Gyorgy Kepes, Marshall McLuhan, Nicholas Negroponte, Paolo Soleri, and others are examined. Despite their differences, these design thinkers were dedicated to the optimization or alteration of human environments as sensitive and conditioning apparatuses.

Larry D. Busbea is associate professor of art history at the University of Arizona, Tucson where his research focuses on the interactions of design, art, and critical theory in Europe and the United States after WWII. His essays and reviews have appeared in October, The RIBA Journal of Architecture, Design Issues, The Journal of Design History, Aggregate, The Architect’s Newspaper, and The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. He is the author of Topologies: The Urban Utopia in France, 1960–1970 (MIT Press, 2007), the forthcoming The Responsive Environment: Design, Aesthetics, and the Human in the 1970s (University of Minnesota Press), and Proxemics: Social Construction/Environmental Design (Columbia Books on Architecture and the City).