Interior Ecologies

Interior Ecologies:
International Online Conference


MAIA, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture

HEAD – Geneva (HES-SO)



Symposium Date:

Dec. 20 & Dec. 21


Beatriz Colomina, Samaneh Moafi, Alenda Y. Chang, Liam Young




HPO, María Esteban Casañas, Karl Kaisel, Uwe Brunner, Bettina Katja Lange, and Joan Soler-Adillon, İlkyaz Samur Avcı, V. Şafak Uysal, Studio Meteora

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The second edition of the Interior Ecologies conference, organized by MAIA, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture at HEAD – Genève, and the Institute for Postnatural Studies, will delve into the intersection between the built environment and new emerging ecologies. It will explore the impact of digitalization on interior architecture and its relationship to computational ecologies, social media, non-human relations, postnatural territories, video games, and artificial intelligence. The conference will be fully online, with free registration and open access, and will integrate innovative formats of broadcast, fostering interaction between speakers, the audience, and AI-generated content. The event will feature a series of lectures, round tables, and experimental performances, showcasing the latest research and design approaches in architecture, ecology, and media.

The presentations will focus on various themes, including Ecologies of Media, which delves into the intricate relationship between digital platforms and the built environment. Challenging traditional notions of wilderness preservation, one presentation views Earth as a “rambunctious garden,” extending this approach to virtual worlds and advocating for a more environmentally intelligent game design. Additionally, Digital Environments and Video Games will be explored as innovative tools for designing and testing interior spaces, with a particular emphasis on discussions about the potential of virtual environments to simulate user experiences and behaviors, and the challenges involved in translating game dynamics into physical spaces. One presentation will envision a future with a massive city for Earth's population, while a different exploration will propose a “transspecies architecture” that embraces collaboration between humans and other species.

The topic of Artificial Intelligence will prompt a critical examination of the use of AI algorithms in architectural design processes, the integration of smart systems into interior spaces, and the ethical and environmental considerations associated with post-natural design practices. The conference will research the intersection of human creativity and AI in post-natural design, using a custom-trained AI algorithm to study interior ecologies, including presentations exploring diverse perspectives from a multispecies viewpoint. Lastly, Psychic Ecologies will delve into the impact of interior architecture on human emotions, behaviors, and social relationships. The projects will investigate the meaning of space in an era of connectivity through performative lectures, with experts discussing the influence of elements such as color, texture, and sound on human and non-human cognition and perception. Overall, the conference will provide a unique online platform for interdisciplinary exchange and experimentation, fostering innovative approaches to analyze new interior ecologies.

Full brochure with all information available here


Wednesday, Dec 20th, 2023

10:00 - 10:15 Javier F. Contreras, Roberto Zancan, Pablo Ferreira Navone Introduction

10:15 - 10:30 MAIA Students Conference Brief

10:30 - 11:30 HPO (Riccardo Simioni) The Low Poly Solitude Twitch Lecture and Live Conversation

11:30 - 12:30 María Esteban Casañas Experimental Roundtable + Custom-Trained A.I. Algorithm Roundtable Discussion with an A.I. Algorithm

13:00 - 15:00 BREAK

15:00 - 15:45 Karl Kaisel Island of Multitude Video Screening and Presentation

15:45 - 17:00 Alenda Y. Chang KEYNOTE #1 - On Games as Rambunctious Gardens, or Ecological Game Design Online Lecture

17:00 - 18:15 Liam Young KEYNOTE #2 - Planet City Online Lecture

Thursday, Dec 21st 2023

10:00 - 10:15 MAIA Students Interior Ecologies

10:15 - 11:15 Uwe Brunner, Bettina Katja Lange, and Joan Soler-Adillon #See You at Home - The Domestic Spaces as Public Encounter Performative Online Lecture

11:15 - 12:00 İlkyaz Samur Avcı & V. Şafak Uysal Digital Ecologies, Performative Interiors, Pandemic Times Performative Online Lecture

12:00 - 13:15 Samaneh Moafi KEYNOTE #3 - Situated Testimonies Online Lecture

13:15 - 14:15 BREAK

14:15 - 15:30 Beatriz Colomina KEYNOTE #4 - Towards a Transspecies Architecture Online Lecture

15:30 - 16:45 Studio Meteora Interview by MAIA Students

16:45 - 17:15 MAIA, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture (HEAD – Genève) Institute for Postnatural Studies Colophon - Online Discussion


HPO Ferrara, Italy The Low Poly Solitude A Live In-Game Lecture and Audiovisual Essay About Late 1990s Game Design Culture

In the realm of architectural discourse, video games have recently become a prominent subject. Since the year 2020, game design has assumed a central role in design studios, exhibition pavilions, and lectures. Essentially, this marks the prelude to the Metaverse, where studies on gaming play a crucial role within the discipline. It's noteworthy that architectural interest in game design only surfaced during a mature phase of its evolution, nearly three decades after the initial noteworthy achievements in 3D video game art. The pivotal moment came in 1996 with the release of the Nintendo 64 console, which showcased the first works providing a comprehensive and immersive gaming experience within a freely explorable three-dimensional environment. Under the creative direction of Shigeru Miyamoto, these works established a groundbreaking paradigm in 3D video game art, with no precedent for reference at that time. We designate this case study as year 0, aiming to delve into various significant digital spaces during an in-game lecture via Twitch. This exploration will focus on unraveling the spatial aspects of these spaces and the intimate connections between design and play.

María Esteban Casañas Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Experimental Roundtable + Custom-Trained AI Algorithm

The increasingly blurred boundaries between human creativity and machine-generated content in the rapidly evolving landscape of post-natural design practices call for alternative (re)creations of new AI tools for more equitable design processes. This roundtable questions our current AI models and delves into how designers can adopt alternative approaches to designing with them. With the hope of generating a productive discourse, the roundtable aims to reveal insights using a custom-trained AI algorithm on interior ecologies as a tool for analysis, exploring dataset curation, power dynamics, ethical and hierarchical implications, and the complexity of the relationship between human beings and new digital regimes.

Karl Kaisel University of Applied Arts Vienna Island of Multitude Storytelling As a Method for Connecting With The More-Than-Human World

How is the world seen by an island – a place of multitudes, living and nonliving? The space and time through a multispecies viewpoint are infinitely complex and narrowing it down to a linear film might seem impossible. Island of Multitude gets entangled in the island’s complex world, following and building connections between different agents of the island. The contact points are observed from multiple perspectives, with each new viewpoint forming an even more complex web. In the end, this film is just one story out of the millions that unfold on the island daily. Island of Multitude is the conclusion of a year-long research on the island of Uuluti, located in the Baltic Sea, off the coast of West Estonia. It started as an exploration of island space and the human and non-human stories that are formed on islands. One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of islands is their defining aspects related to space – they are isolated. The experience of space is different depending on how you travel in it, therefore the first step of getting to know this island was to approach it in numerous ways – walking through the sea like the cows, flying with a drone like a seagull, or floating across the sea like the ripped-up algae.

Alenda Y. Chang University of California, Santa Barbara On Games as Rambunctious Gardens, or Ecological Game Design

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “rambunctious” as “uncontrollably exuberant” or “boisterous, wild, [and] unruly,” but notes that the term typically describes a person. Yet, "rambunctious" is how environmental writer Emma Marris describes the likely future of our planet. On a globe irrevocably altered by human action and inaction, we must relinquish the myth of wilderness preservation and turn our attention to cultivating, at best, Earth as a “rambunctious garden.” Such a metaphor directs us toward a “post-wild” natural world still worthy of being cherished. It also offers an expedient way to rethink virtual worlds and to resituate digital and analog play beyond the domestic interior. Long associated with cybernetic orderliness and relations predicated on mastery and control, games and those who play them in this unsettled epoch could stand to be much, much more rambunctious. I will outline a handful of principles—and caveats—for those looking to build, play, and think through more environmentally intelligent games. For instance, by foregrounding the agency and unpredictability of game ecologies and expanding the ambient contexts for play. My talk will also showcase the growing diversity of games on aesthetic, procedural, and ethical fronts, having to do with modeling, energetics, and more-than-human orientation.

Liam Young Independent Researcher Planet City and the Return of Global Wilderness

Following centuries of colonization, globalization, and never-ending economic extraction we have remade the world from the scale of the cell to the tectonic plate. In the storytelling performance Planet City and the Return of Global Wilderness we go on a science fiction safari through an imaginary city for the entire population of the earth, where 10 billion people surrender the rest of the world to a globally scaled wilderness and the return of stolen lands. Set against the consistent failure of nation-states to act in any meaningful way against climate change, Planet City emerges from a global citizen consensus, a voluntary and multi-generational retreat from our vast network of cities and entangled supply chains into one hyper-dense metropolis.

Uwe Brunner, Bettina Katja Lange, and Joan Soler-Adillon Independent Researchers #See You at Home - The Domestic Spaces as Public Encounter

#See You at Home - The Domestic Spaces as Public Encounter is an interactive and immersive installation that oscillates between the physical and virtual dimensions, aiming to explore the meaning of private and intimate space in an era of ubiquitous connectivity. As an ongoing participatory project, it reflects on our everyday domestic life within the realms of private and public spheres, and thus on our relationship with living spaces in general. It represents the concept of a public living space, providing a stage for encounters, joint awareness, and personal exchange. The foundational piece of this work is an ever-growing global archive in Virtual Reality, offering glimpses into the domesticated private spheres of a digitally networked population. This VR experience manifests a multitude of fragmented narratives of personal spaces, intimate routines, and memories, along with a variety of snapshots of three-dimensional documents taken between 2020 and 2021 in over 40 different countries during the most intense periods of self-isolation and home confinement.

İlkyaz Samur Avcı* & V. Şafak Uysal Akdeniz University, Turkey, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey Digital Ecologies, Performative Interiors, Pandemic Times

The field of performing arts has been one of the most affected sectors due to Covid-19 shutdown policies in Turkey—simply because the space-time continuum of the theatrical event (that is, the principle of being in the same space at the same time) has been subject to an inevitable disruption during the pandemic. Following the first few common and elementary ways of tackling the problem, several artists adopted more refined strategies for taking on the challenge. They started using various (preexistent or state-of-the-art) digital technologies and giving life to several novel spatial frameworks that carry the promise of transforming the way theatrical arts are practiced. In this lecture performance, we examine three such efforts, paying special attention to the overall nature of the multi-layered spatialities they offer. Barış Arman’s An Infra-Ordinary Journey questions the audience members’ relationships to their own homes by acoustically breaking open the physical integrity of domestic space. Batu Bozoğlu’s Project: Survive welcomes the project participants to the artist’s living room as he reproduces a series of daily rituals on social media. And Tibia x Fibula’s Walkthrough: Darağaç allows the audience to direct the movements of two avatar performers through the city from a distance. All in all, we argue that these examples re-establish contemporaneity (the synchronous occupation of a physically continuous space by a performer and an overlooker) in some form by exploring various possibilities of repairing the disrupted space-time continuum of the theatrical event.

Samaneh Moaffi Forensic Architecture Situated Testimonies Online Lecture

As Forensic Architecture’s Assistant Director of Research, Samaneh provides conceptual oversight across projects and oversees the Centre for Contemporary Nature. Her research is focused on developing new evidentiary techniques for environmental violence.She holds a PhD from The Architectural Association (AA), and a a BA and MA in Architecture from the University of Technology, Sydney. Samaneh’s PhD thesis examined struggle and resistance from the home, with a particular focus on gender and class relations in Iran.

Beatriz Colomina Princeton University, USA Towards a Transspecies Architecture Online Lecture

Western architecture has always been understood in terms of the body – more precisely the athletic white male body endlessly redrawn from Renaissance treatises to modern architecture manifestoes, from Leonardo da Vinci to Le Corbusier – a perfected body immersed in geometric systems of proportions – a fiction that excludes most of humanity. Human-centered design sounds good, but it is terrible for humans, other species, and the planet. The human is not one thing but an endlessly complex changing trans-species collaboration. The human is just a bag of bacteria, and bacteria have been around for billions of years, while the human is a very recent arrival and might already be on the way out. We are nothing without all these foreigners. We live in them more than they live in us. What would a probiotic architecture be? It would be like our gut, more porous, versus the prophylactic attitude of modern architecture. We used to live intimately with all the bacteria in the soil, the plants, and other animals. And we may want to reconnect with this diversity of bacteria, embracing them.

Studio Meteora ETH Zürich, Switzerland Interview by MAIA Students

Studio Meteora is a design studio and an architectural practice based in Zurich and at home around the globe. We talk about the beauties and challenges of our world today by playing with the abundance of digital information. We navigate this abundance through artificial intelligence to create architectural positions in sync with our time. We see the hyperconnected world of today as a planetary garden that gives nature its share. We celebrate recycling to keep objects and ideas alive.”

Organization and Credits

Scientific Committee: MAIA, Master of Arts in Interior Architecture, HEAD – Genève Institute for Postnatural Studies, Madrid

Publishing: Spector Books

Access Information

The conference will be hosted on an independent website granting free access to all lectures, information related to the speakers, and a digital archive generated with an excerpt of contributions selected from an international open call. The link will be published soon

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