Imaginary Futures

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fiona Raby, Dunne & Raby, The New School
Katie Torn, artist and curator
Chris Woebken, artist and curator
Liam Young, Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, SCI-Arc

In discussion with
Laura Kurgan, Columbia GSAPP
Tei Carpenter, Columbia GSAPP
Christoph Kumpusch, Columbia GSAPP
Daphna Shohamy, Columbia University, Department of Psychology and Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute

Background Information

We are operating within a world of diminishing resources and expanding global displacement. The economic crisis and effects of climate change are exacerbating social unrest and conflict. Rapid technological transformations are accelerating information exchange and broadening cultural participation while also enabling new systems of control. The new normal is ever changing.

The current state of architecture and culture at large call for a reimagining of architectural practice as well as a re-envisioning of the world in which it operates. Beyond the physical built environment, architecture is a platform for speculation and critique, a domain for interrogating the implications of technological and cultural change as it impacts the evolution of our cities and societies. Architecture is inherently a form of science fiction, with the architectural imaginary providing alternative visions of the future.

In order to better understand and evaluate present social, cultural, and technological conditions and project future possibilities, architects, designers, and artists often utilize speculative or design fiction to consider “what if.” Using a strategy common to the work of writers and artists such as J.G. Ballard and Chris Marker, speculative and imaginative designs for the near future take a current scenario to an extreme endpoint, in order to enact a highly tangible and often prescient expression of the now. Imaginary Futures reflects the limitations of our current realities while attempting to transcend them through the scales of: the city, the object, the body, and the mind.


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