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Marcos Novak


Multi-faceted artist, composer and architect, Marcos Novak (1957) was born in Caracas and studied architecture, specializing in programs for industrial design. A researcher at the University of Austin, Texas, since the 1980s he has devoted himself to the relationship between computer science and construction.

Working in “non-traditional” architecture, his design thinking stems from exploring the spatial potential of new digital technologies, algorithmic compositions and music.
In particular, Novak analyses conformations, developing theories in respect of “hypersurfaces”, a hybrid combination of “invisibility and virtuality”.

His innovative professional career has led to him coining new terms such as “liquid architecture” and “transarchitecture”, together with “navigable music”, “habitable cinema”, “archimusic” and several other terms which aptly illustrate his design methods.
These neologisms include the term “liquid architecture”, coined in the publication Liquid architecture in cyberspace (1993).

Novak states that, in respect of architecture, the term “liquid” refers to an “animistic, animated, metamorphic entity, which crosses categorical boundaries and requires the cognitively supercharged operations of poetic thinking. Cyberspace is liquid. Liquid cyberspace, liquid architecture, liquid cities. Liquid architecture is more than kinetic architecture, robotic architecture, and architecture of fixed parts and variable links. Liquid architecture is an architecture that breathes and pulses. […] Liquid architecture makes liquid cities, cities that change with shifting values, where visitors from different backgrounds see different landmarks, where neighborhoods vary in line with common ideas and evolve as ideas mature or dissolve”.

The term “transarchitecture” instead describes a transformation or transmutation of architecture intended to break down physical and virtual opposition, proposing a continuum ranging from physical architecture to architecture energized by technological augmentation to the architecture of cyberspace. Transarchitecture is offered as a way to expand and reinforce the scope and relevance of architecture in the computer age, and to allow alternatives to be considered beyond the narrow confines of construction disciplines. Transarchitecture examines aspects of technological and theoretical advances in space and their relation to the exploration of diverse spatial modalities which in the past were impossible to pursue. Computers should be seen as both tools to investigate these concepts of space and instigators of new architecture.” (Babele 2000, 2007).

For Novak, the very notion of architecture "is a hyper-extended concept where, alongside its core identity and function, construction of new structures goes beyond the physical limits of the same structure and form (T. De Feo).
On the basis of this purely theoretical premise, Novak has designed numerous prototypes, workshops and actual installations, which are liquid architectures through mechanical measures, giving the impression of being somewhere between the physical and virtual domains (transarchitecture), albeit “used” through sensors.

In addition to numerous conferences and conventions on digital issues, Novak has participated in innumerable international exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, including the 7th and 9th International Architecture Exhibitions at the Venice Biennial (2000 and 2004).

In his first Biennial in 2000, the installation "Invisible Architectures” explored and reflected on the representation of invisible space. "The installation is based on creating a portion of space completely different from the surrounding one and invisible yet at the same time, existing" (Drawing No. 50/2015).

Novak’s publications include the previously mentioned Cyberspace: First Steps (1991), published in Italy in 1993 as Architetture liquide nel cyberspazio, which has been translated into several languages and included in a number of anthologies about the digital world.
Since 1983 he has lectured at numerous universities including Ohio State University, Columbus OH, UCLA Los Angeles CA, University of Texas, Austin TX, University of Wales UK, Art Center College of Art and Design, Pasadena CA. He currently lectures at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Marcos Novak selected works and projects
- Turbulent Topologies, Palazzetto Tito, Venezia (Italia), 2008
- Web-Event Trans-ports (con K. Oosterhuis e O. Bouman) NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), Rotterdam (Olanda), 2000
- Archilab, Frac Centre, Orléans (Francia), 2000
- Invisible Architectures, Venezia (Italia), 2000
- Continuum 001, Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow (Scozia), 2000
- Stand der Dinge/ Virtuelle Entwicklungen, Künstlerhaus, Vienna (Austria), 1999
- Brasmitte: Interventions in Megacities, SESC Belenzinho Sao Paulo (Brasile), 1999
- Transarchitectures 02-03, sedi varie, tra cui NAi (Netherlands Architecture Institute), Rotterdam (Olanda); Institute Francaise d’Architecture, Parigi (Francia); Centre de Design de l’UQAM University of Quebec Montreal (Canada); 1997-1998
- Variable Data Forms, 1999
- Paracube, 1998
- Data-Driven Forms, 1997
- Dancing With The Virtual Dervish: Worlds in Progress, Banff Center, Alberta (Canada), 1991-1994

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