Strelka opens applications for 2018 postgrad program

Led by Benjamin Bratton, students of the second year of The New Normal program will continue research into topics of critical significance to the future of urban design.

The 2017-2018 postgraduate program at Strelka begins on January 31, 2018 and runs through July, combining intensive studies in Moscow with an international field trip and internships. Applications are already open on the program's website – the deadline is November 1.

The New Normal is a three-year speculative urbanism think-tank, a platform for the invention and articulation of a new urban discourse and new models.

The second year of the program builds on the work of the previous year and extends it in new directions. The 2017/2018 program will focus on research and design for the city and explore the opportunities posed by emerging technologies for interdisciplinary urban design practices.

During the intensive 5-months program, students will continue research into such topics as: platforms and stacks, qualitative and quantitative pattern recognition, platform aesthetics, speculative megastructures, sensing and sensation, density and distribution, and experience and economics.

“We are making new worlds faster than we can keep track of them, and the pace is unlikely to slow. If our technologies have advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize their implications, such 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: to map the new normal for what it is, and to shape it toward what it should be.” – Benjamin H. Bratton (Strelka Education Program Director)

Each year Strelka accepts 30 students from all over the world. The New Normal multidisciplinary program is designed for young professionals from Russia and abroad with backgrounds and work experience in the fields of architecture, urbanism, digital media, interactive design, computer technologies, social studies, and other fields. In 2016 the institute received applications from more than 60 countries.

The program is tuition free, and participants are provided a monthly stipend of 39,000 rubles (US$660).

The teaser for SEVER project - a strategy for the development of the Arctic.

Strelka’s location and primary research context is Russia, but this year it will look toward Asia, and in particular at the One Belt, One Road Initiative (OBOR), which will link China with Russia, Europe, Africa, and India by a “new silk road” of multimodal links. The students will take a research field trip to Hong Kong and Shenzhen to investigate the large-scale production and distribution systems around which global supply chains converge.

“The New Normal is a research education program designed by Strelka Institute – a sort of a three-year think-tank. We are really impressed by the results of the first year of the program that ended this July, impressed by the diversity of the projects and the new type of student that the program attracted. It’s no longer enough to look at the “physical” side of the city, just as much as it is no longer enough to look at technology simply as a tool in the hands of a designer or an architect.

We are learning the new rules of the game, learning how to adequately evaluate the possibilities, potential, and impact of new technologies, and how to use these possibilities to make positive changes. A designer’s role is no longer limited to accepting or denying the status quo, a designer can now create the new normal. The design solutions and the interface systems that we create today will form the reality that awaits us in 2050. This is exactly the type of thinking that we encourage in our students.” – Varvara Melnikova, CEO of Strelka Institute

Strelka’s experimental program employs tools and approaches from a wide variety of disciplines, and mixes seminar, studio and technical workshops in an alternating sequence of modules that closely link conceptualization and prototyping, with the one folding into the other. The New Normal researchers engage with technologies and tools including digital video production and compositing, data analysis and visualisation software, virtual/augmented reality applications (3D and cinematic), and advanced software development, including machine vision and machine learning.

The teaser for the Air Kiss movie created by the 2017 participants. 

The program is designed and led by Benjamin Bratton –  an American sociologist and architectural and design theorist. Professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego, and author of The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty, Bratton outlines a new theory for the age of global computation and algorithmic governance. Strelka Faculty this year will also include media theorist Lev Manovich, architect Liam Young, architect Keller Easterling, Metahaven design studio, and other notable experts.

Read Benjamin Bratton’s essay The New Normal to better understand the idea of the program.

Learn more, take a look at the final projects from the previous year, and submit your application atthenewnormal.strelka.com, or attend one of the New Normal public talks by Benjamin Bratton scheduled in Russia and Europe this fall. The first event will take place on September 8 in Amsterdam at Mediamatic.