Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design

Moscow, RU


Strelka Institute announced the enrollment campaign for the postgraduate education programme

By sofiayukina
Aug 25, '16 5:45 PM EST

Strelka Institute for architecture, media and design launched the enrollment campaign for the postgraduate  education program. The theme of the 7th academic year at Strelka is The New Normal. Research will focus on the new contemporary condition, which has emerged because of the rapid development of technology — including machine intelligence, biotechnology, automation, alternative spaces createdin VR and AR — and define new paths for urban design and development.

The multidisciplinary programme at Strelka in 2016/17 is designed not only for experts in media, architecture, design and urbanism. In addition, this year Strelka invites young specialists from Russia and abroad who work in creative industries (artists, scenarists, writers, filmmakers), and other fields like software studies, digital media, social sciences, etc.

Applications are accepted at starting August, 25. Strelka traditionally enrolls 30 international students with free tuition and stipend of $600 monthly. The Programme runs for 5 months from February 2017 to July 2017. Minimum age required is 25 years old. Working language is English. Students will learn the methods of creative interdisciplinary urban research, speculative design*, scenario planning and ideation, digital technologies, critical thinking, platform design, prototyping, urban and social media data gathering and analysis. The offline presentation and its online translation on Facebook and are going to be on August, 28 (7 pm GMT+3)  at Strelka Institute. To learn more about the programme

Varvara Melnikova, Director of the Strelka Institute:

“Strelka Institute has always been a think-tank for modern research, innovations and shaping a new discourse and models: we have been examining public spaces, citizens as consumers, urban routines and the agents of changes when their roles were to be shaped. Now we witness the need to define the outcome of the process, when technologies influence our demand to urban environment and our habits to a greater extend than even political decisions. Within The New Normal we strive to develop an effective dictionary of the contemporary era and define the processes which have changed us, but have not been articulated. The future is where we will live, but first we need to catch up to the present”.

Benjamin H. Bratton, new Education Program Director at Strelka Institute, is an American sociologist and architectural theorist. Bratton is a Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego, where he has become Tenured Professor and developed a program on speculative design. The number of students has multiplied  3.5 times in the last year. He is also former Director of the Advanced Strategies Group at Yahoo!, author of numerous books on design, computational media and infrastructures. His book The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty has become a bestseller in MIT Press in 2016.

Bratton is currently working on a new research project on theory and design in the era of machine intelligence. He studies how artificial intelligence in its different forms (from computer vision to synthetic cognition) changes the traditional design approach.

Benjamin H. Bratton about The New Normal:

“Have our technologies advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize and describe their implications? If so, such a gaps can be perilous. In response, one impulse is to pull the emergency brake, and to try to put all the genies back in all the bottles. This is ill-advised (and hopeless). Better instead to invest in emergence, in contingency, in designation: to map the New Normal for what it is, and to shape it toward what it should be. That is what we strive to in the coming academic year”.

In addition to Bratton, Lev Manovich, expert in new media, is a leading member of faculty. Lev was one of the first to work with big data and information analysis in social networks. Lev is the author of a famous book ‘The Language of New Media’ and director of the Software Studies research initiative which produced the Selfiecity project. The Verge put him on the list of the 50 people who create the future. Among other faculty members are Liam Young, an architect and futurologist, who operates in spaces between, design, fiction, and cinematic futures; Metahaven, Amsterdam-based studio for design, research and art, founded by graphic designers and writers Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk, who teached at ArtEZ Academy of Art and Design, Yale University, New Haven, and Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam.

*Speculative design is a school of applied thought on the future of social and material systems, from cities to software.   Designing through speculation provides an appropriate methodology – modeling the objects of the future for further studying and criticism. This new sphere has emerged less than 20 years ago, yet not only does it live in  exhibition halls, but it is also a research tool in such companies like Phillips, Toyota and Facebook.

Compared to the traditional approach in design, which is focused on finding one fixed  solution for a specific problem and optimizing the existing tasks, speculative design encourages designers to work with uncertain scenarios of the future and to invent something unpredictable and shape it in an extraordinary manner. Speculative design is not only the way of designing an object or a solution, but also the way to shape an idea and express it in an original manner.

The program consists of 5 modules:

The New Normal

Students will examine the challenges posed by emerging technologies but the forms of speculative urbanism we will explore have to do with shifting boundaries between human, society, system, and ecology.  

Pattern Recognition

In this module students will learn new techniques in quantitative and qualitative analysis, data visualization, and cultural analytics.  

Synthetic Sensing

The module is about several new design technologies, including virtual /augmented reality, biosensing, and 3D scanning.  

Speculative Megastructures

Science-fiction often anticipates things before they arrive. The lesson is that we cannot enact another urbanism before we imagine it and model it. This module will explore potential urban futures, from the metabolisms of global flows to infrastructure scale robotics, and how 21sth century modernity will be shaped by how cities rise to common challenges.

Platform Design

The design outcomes of the program will mix traditional and emerging forms of design and media to reset the terms of the urban discussion. In this module will learn strategies for the development and communication of design projects as speculative urban platforms, incorporating branding, user experience, narrative, irony, paradox and sleight-of-hand to turn audiences into users, developers, believers, collaborators. Here urban futures move from fiction into prototype.

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