A history of predictions

Co-Director: Reinier de Graaf
Co-Director: Laura Baird
Tutor: Vasily Auzan

Throughout history, mankind has exhibited a desire to ‘know’ the future: from biblical prophecies to Marx’s dialectic course of history; from Kennedy’s man on the moon to Kubrick’s Space Odyssey; from speculative assumptions about the effects of climate change to assessments about the future of the global economy… predictions manifest in many forms.
The advance of science has been an interesting catalyst: with its ability to endlessly simulate the future consequences of present decisions, cyberspace has given the future a whole new dimension. However, despite the benefits of scientific progress, history’s most radical changes are rarely the result of scientific calculation; instead, more often than not, they are the product of a leap of faith. Maybe therein lies the real essence and value of predictions: as the ultimately mythical drivers of the supposedly rational process of modernization. Perhaps modernization is nothing other than man’s ability to believe his own predictions, even when the validity of these predictions remains questionable…
Russia is no exception: five year plans ‘shaped’ the future of the nation for over 70 years. Much of Russia as we know it today can be interpreted as a ‘lived prediction’ – the result of a past intention to set the country on an inevitable course – which, true or false, continues to affect it until today. The studio conducted an X-ray of past predictions about the present, with a particular focus on how such an X-ray can be made productive in defining an agenda for present day Russia.

How to debrief a city?

Сo-director: Felix Madrazo
Сo-director: Robert Bood
Tutor: Dasha Paramonova

As the world accelerates exponentially in the daily exchange and storage of terabytes of information, we are confronted with the urgent need to develop intelligent systems that would be capable of sorting out the massive amount of evidence, new theories and breakthrough ideas for the city.
Instead of repeating dominant discourses we should get used to the idea that our presumptions might be wrong or instantly outdated, that blind spots and new territories could be discovered through intelligent scrutiny of indexes, comments, twits, posts, blogs, surveys, and huge untapped potential of various data banks. As much as the economists need their Bloomberg terminals that combine political news with stock exchange performances to measure the temperature of the economy, city makers need to develop their own methods to constantly update their beliefs and ideas about what the city lacks, needs or aspires to become.
How can one make information “talk” to us? Can we learn how to ask the right questions to get the right answers and get them on time? Is it possible to design a scheme of horizontal exchange between multiple silos of professional knowledge and pools of facts?
Through a series of intensive workshops strategically arranged by media, impact and timeframes, studio (Re)Charge Information analysed how cities in general and Moscow in particular evolve day by day, aiming to create precise yet flexible briefs for future exploration.

Past, present, and future of learning

Сo-director: Yury Grigoryan
Сo-director: Brendan McGetrick
Tutor: Peter Sigrist

How to reanimate dead schools without destroying tradition? What does it mean to be informed in an environment of constantly updating information with uncertain value? What is the value of expertise in an age that fetishizes multidisciplinarity and amateurism?
‘Education as a project’ is a collective investigation of Strelka’s future potential as an institution and educational model. It applies personalized, critical thinking to the school and society at large, through a research process that emphasizes adventure, pleasure, and experimentation. Starting from the researchers’ individual experiences, the survey spans outward to take in educational efforts around the world, via lectures, films, field work, and assigned readings. Based on their findings and under the direction of their instructors, members of the theme defined visionary ‘master plans’ for the future of education at Strelka, in Russia, and abroad. Researchers performed as both students and teachers, processing learned information and personal insights to develop educational experiments at Strelka and elsewhere.
How can we develop a structure that allows for personalized trajectories within a common educational system?

Towards the New Patterns of Cohabitation

Сo-director: David Erixon
Сo-director: Anastassia Smirnova
Tutor: Kuba Snopek

Rapid Soviet urbanization presented us with hundreds of collective cities – rigid structures that allowed little freedom and were not made to accommodate change. Under the regime of forced collectivism the old Russian tradition of second homes amidst nature took on the whole new meaning: for generations of the Soviet city dwellers dacha – or a small house in the countryside – became a symbol of relative personal and economical independence, turning into an ultimate object of desire, an idealised “another place”.
Rapid Post-Soviet privatization brought into life an incredibly vast, diverse, fragmented, ever expanding and largely uncharted Dachaland. Today, about 40 000 000 Russians own a hideaway of sorts outside city limits: a plot of land, a cottage in a village or a shed in a garden; many more millions just rent their second homes in the summer. Literally every Russian city and town – even those in the far North – has a wide belt of individual dwellings that acts as a (temporary) counterpoint and a (seasonal) antidote to the pressures of metropolitan life.
At the same time, this territory of private freedom remains a grey zone with no clear rules of ownership, no strategies for future development, no will for community building, no proper use of non-private space and – paradoxically enough – little room for transformative change. Beautiful and nostalgic as it may be, half-used in winter and overused in summer, Dachaland exists and expands according to the old extensive logic of rough urbanization, swallowing more nature and more land every year to accommodate more people and spills of the big cities.
The studio offered an adventurous investigation of the past, the present and the future of thе grey zone. Can we use this territory in a more efficient way and prevent uncontrollable sprawl? Can we preserve its charm while introducing innovative models of cohabitation, breakthrough designs and ideas of what a second home might be in the future? Can Dachaland adequately satisfy the growing universal demand for the new life styles, for radical improvement of the quality of life and for an optimal balance between individual and collective that Russian cities so often fail to respond to? Join us to uncover its great economical, cultural, and societal potential.

◄ Never Delete This Line! Position the cursor before the arrow to insert a block.