The 2017/18 New Normal faculty guide

An international team of renowned professors and leading industry experts are coming to Strelka to teach the second year of the New Normal research project.

In the fast-changing world, the New Normal program at Strelka continues to look for a new discourse and new models of urban design. In its second year, the think tank will shift its focus eastward and towards emergent systems of value. During the intensive 5-month program, students will work in small teams to research and develop original speculative interventions and platforms. The New Normal is designed for young international and Russian specialists with diverse backgrounds with strong interest in urban-related projects.


Strelka is accepting applications to the New Normal program until November 1. Find out how to apply here.


The 2017/18 faculty includes leading theorists and practitioners from around the world, in the fields of architecture, digital media, AI, design, UX and other spheres.


The core faculty will remain the same this year:

Benjamin Bratton

Design theorist, professor of Visual Arts and Director of the Center for Design at the University of California, San Diego, Professor of Digital Design at The European Graduate School and Visiting Faculty at SCI_Arc.

Benjamin is the Education Director of The New Normal Programme. He will lead the first module (“The New Normal”) based on his work on “The Stack”, and will assist the students in the conception of their final projects during the entire duration of the programme.

Lev Manovich

Digital Media theorist and Professor of Computer Science at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. He is also the founder and director of Cultural Analytics Lab, which uses methods from computer science, media design and humanities to analyze big cultural data such as millions of Instagram images.

Lev is among the core faculty of The New Normal Program and will run the “Pattern Recognition” module, focusing on new techniques in quantitative / qualitative analysis, data visualization and how “Big Data” methodologies inform the Digital Humanities in the form of “Cultural Analytics”.

Keller Easterling

Architect, writer and professor at Yale University. Her most recent book “Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space” examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Other recent works also considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse.

Keller is among the core faculty of The New Normal Programme. She will lead a module based on her theory of “Medium Design”, looking at space itself as an information system to prompt productive thought about both spatial and non-spatial problems.

METAHAVEN (Vinca Kruk + Daniel van der Velden)

Amsterdam-based studio for design, research, and art”, whose commissioned and self-directed work reflects philosophical and social issues in collaboratively produced graphic design objects.

Daniel and Vinca are among the core faculty of the programme and will run the “Platform Aesthetics” module, focusing on platforms, storytelling and the fundamental concept of “duration”. They will also assist the students in the conception and aesthetic development of their final projects.

Liam Young

Speculative Architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He runs the M.A. in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles and has taught internationally including the Architectural Association and Princeton University.

Liam Young is among the core faculty of the programme and will run the “Speculative Megastructures” module, focusing on the design of the “shapes of fiction” of different narrative frameworks. He will also help students develop storyboards and think of the potential forms and mediums of their final projects.


Strelka is also bringing a remarkable team of visiting faculty and invited experts:

Ben Cerveny

Designer and strategist with over 20 years of experience on user interaction and experience design, concept prototyping, and strategy in the context of media applications, operating systems, web services, ubiquitous computing, and massively multiplayer games.

Ben will assist the students in the conceptual development of their final projects by sharing his experience of complex adaptive systems, conceptual models, framing problems at the scale of systems and the role/opportunities inherent in platform strategies, “game design” and software space.

Etienne Turpin

Philosopher and founding director of anexact office in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a Research Scientist at M.I.T., where he is also coordinator of the Humanitarian Infrastructure Group and co-director of the PetaBencana.id risk mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab.

Etienne will run a workshop involving a close reading of Benjamin Bratton’s The Stack, with particular attention to the Earth and Address Layers and their respective prehistories along a continuum from the pre-Stack to the post-Anthropocene.

Geoff Manaugh

Writer and author of BLDGBLOG, his research explores the interaction of the designed and built environment with landscapes and natural processes. He is also co-teaching a studio at UC Berkeley with focus on the relationship between science fiction, infrastructure, ecology, agriculture and governance.

Geoff will present research and cases studies of “The New Normal” based on his work on BLDGBLOG, and run various local field trips / explorations in the beginning of the programme. He will also lead a module on “Slow Crime”, looking at the emergence of urban-scale AI through the lens of police forensics

Julieta Aranda

Conceptual artist who works in Berlin and New York City and explores ways of experiencing time, space, and the dissemination of information in her multimedia works, installation, videos, and print media.

Julieta will run a workshop on projective thinking and the creation of speculative design projects, in particular through the definition of initial “mission conditions” and the advent of unexpected crisis.

RIVAL STRATEGY (Marta Ferreira de Sá + Benedict Singleton)

Consultancy studio founded in 2016 to maximise the strategic potential of services, technologies, places and organisations. Ben and Marta have held teaching and research roles at MIT Mobile Experience Lab and the RCA, and received creative commissions from Tate Britain and Guggenheim NY among others.

Ben and Marta will run a workshop on contemporary strategy, based on their work on emerging practice models and platform narratives/design. They will also help students think of their final projects as “strategic organizations”, developing a narrative and aesthetic to speculate on their tactical development.

Petra Blaisse

Dutch designer whose work encompasses a wide scope of design ranging from architecture, interior design, textile design, exhibition design and landscape architecture. She is also the founder of “Inside Outside” office based in Amsterdam, working at various scales.

Petra will run a workshop based on the experience of her practice “Inside Outside”, where she explores the reversibly and addresses the boundary between inside and outside, but also bridges the gap between poetic forms and high-tech, as well as working with seemingly competing timeframes.

Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby

Professors of Design and Social Inquiry and a Fellows of the Graduate Institute for Design Ethnography and Social Thought at The New School in New York. Their work aims to stimulate discussion amongst designers, industry and the public about the social, cultural and ethical implications of existing / emerging technologies.

Anthony and Fiona will assist the students in the ideation and conceptual development of their final projects by focusing on methodologies of critical and speculative design, as well as on the exploration of alternative realities, parallel worlds and fictional futures under their umbrella of “designed realities”.

Armen Avanessian

Austrian philosopher, literary theorist, and political theorist. He has taught at the Free University of Berlin and held fellowships in the German departments of Columbia and Yale University.

Armen will run a theoretical module focusing on his work on Speculative Realism and Accelerationism in art and philosophy, based on his recent research of “Preliminary Thoughts on a New Mereo(to)politics”.

Kenric McDowell

Currently leads the Artists + Machine Intelligence program at Google Research, where he facilitates collaboration between Google AI researchers, artists and cultural institutions. He is a regular speaker on about art and interdisciplinary collaboration at many international conferences across the world.

Kenric will lead a module with the students based on the current work of the Artists + Machine Intelligence program at Google. 

Photos: Dmitry Smirnov, Mikhail Goldenkov, Resonate, Inside Outside