Habitable Environments

Ed Wortz is most well-known for his 1968-69 collaboration with Robert Irwin and James Turrell as part of the Art and Technology program at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Head of the life sciences department at Garrett Corporation (an aerospace research company), Wortz’s research in experimental psychology dovetailed well with the type of perceptual research Irwin and Turrell wished to study.

After his collaboration with Irwin and Turrell, Wortz helped to organize the First National Symposium on Habitability which took place in Venice, California in May 1970. Although the event included the participation of engineers, physicians, psychologists, and city planners, among others, it was held in the studios of Robert Irwin, DeWain Valentine, and Larry Bell.

Wortz describes, “We decided to make the symposium something of an experiment by designing the symposium itself (from arrangements to meeting rooms). Our intent was to have a symposium environment that would fit our topic.” Wortz’s essay on the symposium’s findings appeared in the first and only issue of the Los Angeles artist magazine Choke (1976). You can read more about the symposium’s proceedings by downloading a PDF of the article here.

Image: Participants at the First National Symposium on Habitability, Venice, California, May 1970.