Dr Wolfgang Muench

LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore

Dr Wolfgang Muench is Dean, Learning, Teaching & Research at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. He studied Fine Arts at the University of Art and Design Stuttgart and the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 1996, Dr Muench joined the ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany as a software designer for various projects at the ZKM institutes of Visual Media and Music & Acoustics, among others the Panoramic Navigator and the CD-ROM series art intact and digital arts edition. He taught Interactive Media at Merz- Academy Stuttgart and the Hong Kong Art Centre / The Art School and was Artist-in-Residence at ARS Electronica Linz and IAMAS Institute for Advanced Media Arts and Science, Japan. His collaborative interactive artworks Bubbles and Small Fish works were exhibited in numerous international media art exhibitions and festivals in Europe, America and Asia. In 2017, he received a Doctoral Degree from the University of Vienna. .

Signals in Time and Space: A Submerged Media Avant-gardist Attempt on Environmental Design.


In the late 1960s, New York environmental psychologist, inventor and artist Serge Boutourline proposed a signal-oriented approach for describing the interdependencies and interactions between the individual and the environment. Key to his conceptual framework was the recognition of the changing character of natural and human-made environments and the consideration of such environments as a matrix of events in a four-dimensional time-space continuum. His fragmented and largely neglected theoretical and artistic sketches provided an iridescent contribution to the 1960s emerging discourse on Environmental Design. Boutourline’s conceptual approach reverberated central ideas of Whitehead's process philosophy, Wiener’s Cybernetics, Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory, and McLuhan’s media theory. It emerged out of his ground-breaking 1962 research on audience behaviour in public spaces and took inspiration from his professional practice and collaboration in artistic projects informed by Schlemmer and Moholy-Nagy’s concepts of modernist theatre, Alwin Nikolais late-modernist abstract dance performances, and the 1960s countercultural avant-gardist experiments with media technology and human-machine communication in artistic practice. However, despite Boutourline’s acquaintance to key figures in the countercultural discourse on technological media, artistic practice, and the academic field of Environmental Psychology, there is hardly any reference to Boutourline in the critical discourse concerned with the development of art and design in the 1960s. This paper re-introduces Boutourline’s signal oriented conceptual framework and technological devices within the context of the 1960s countercultural avant-gardist experiments with human-machine communication. It further discusses links between his theoretical and artistic approaches and the emerging conceptual framework of environmental design.