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Programme: The New Normal. Strelka Institute

Text by CLOT Magazine


Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design is an educational institution founded in Moscow in 2009. Since its inception, its core values have been to promote critical thinking while ‘changing the cultural and physical landscapes of Russian cities’.

The New Normal is an experimental postgraduate programme of Strelka. It unites students with diverse backgrounds: architecture, urbanism, film & cinema, interaction design, software design, humanities & social sciences, game design, economics, and more. During the programme, students develop speculative scenarios and platforms to challenge what we know about urban design.

Apart from spatial plans, the Strelka programme also emphasises on strategy, cinema and software. For the past course of 2016/2017, the students were asked to respond to a core provocation, to think of a starting point not in some faraway future but already in an extended present, a thicker “now.” The course projects were DOMA, SHIFT, PHI, Common Task, AirKiss, SEVER and PATTERNIST.

CLOT Magazine has interviewed students behind PHI and Common Task projects, and we will publish their thoughts on the programme and how it has reshaped how they approach their practices. Briefly, PHI uses simulation to reimagine social obligation in the context of ‘trustless’ blockchain networks to explore whether renewable energy can provide an incentive for humans and non-humans to work together. On the other hand, Common Task illustrates an alternative Russian history and ideology by drawing lines between cosmism and quantified self-movement.

The New Normal programme is designed and led by Benjamin Bratton – a sociological, media, and design theorist and author based in California. Bringing together 30 students from all over the world this year, the programme looks towards Asia and, in particular the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) that will link China with Russia, Europe, Africa, and India by way of a  “new silk road” of multimodal links.

Enrolment for the new course is already open. The programme is tuition-free, and participants are provided with a monthly stipend. The application period runs from August 29, 2017, to November 1, 2017. The programme begins on January 31, 2018.

(Photos courtesy of Strelka Institute)
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