Projects Presentation and Screening, Venice Art Night 2021
The Terraforming is a postgraduate design-research think tank at the Strelka Institute for Media Architecture and Design (Moscow) investigating the past and future role of cities as the planetary network by which humans occupy the Earth’s surface. Each year, 30 international researchers join the program to work collaboratively in multidisciplinary groups to generate & translate new conceptual insights into provocative design projects and cinematic media outcomes.
In this talk, Strelka Program Co-Director Nicolay Boyadjiev will share some of the think tank’s design research approaches and screen a selection of the group’s latest work.
Future Premium (Предстоящая Выплата, 2021)
A research proposal framing insurance as a design medium for climate mitigation and governance
Current technologies of abstraction allow for the past to inform present human actions in order to produce viable futures. However, the understanding of the future as uncertain and volatile doesn’t match the way these technologies are deployed or the way climate-related risks are approached. Future Premium explores the ways humanity has conceptualized the future, the technologies that made these ideas possible, and the tools and policies it designed to manage chance and misfortune. Specifically, it focuses on the technologies of insurance and computer modeling and explores their historical, present-day, and possible future convergences. The project enquires whether when coupled with climate modeling, insurance can become a medium of climate mitigation and governance. The idea is based on the consideration that the future is deeply uncertain and therefore needs to be continuously produced and reproduced. Thus, insurance is approached as a tool of design rather than prevention. Future Premium identifies three aspects of the current insurance system that need to be taken into account when pondering the transition to insurance of the future: capital protection, uninsurability, and collectivization of risk. The proposition reveals the system’s implications for the realms of finance, spatial zoning, or governance.
KOSMOS / NEKROS (КОСМОС / НЕКРОС, 2021)
A visual essay interrogating the limits of human knowledge and experience through space/death
The only humans to have died in outer space are the three Russian cosmonauts of the Soyuz 11 Mission, 1971. To die in outer space is to approach two shared unknowns: the limit of the human in terms of its mortality, and our planetary limits in the extension of outer space. This historical interplay between space as both the realm of idealism and the crucible of technological development offers an interpretative framework for approaching questions of human finitude. How far the human can be untethered from its original context and propagate the planet outwards entails the reassessment of our epistemological frameworks and their implications for design. Kosmos and Nekros, therefore, emerge as shared boundary conditions that raise questions of the knowing and unknowing of the limits of human knowledge and experience. In moving beyond the sacralized images of the Blue Marble and the human as Vitruvian, our historical and contemporary imaginaries of space open to a new retelling through a systems view of life and death in the kosmos.
Terra-Collar Work (Терра Работа, 2021)
A speculative report outlining a new kind of work that draws from recent climate change projections and reframes the future of labor.
The Terra-Collar project provides a different view on the future of work, one that responds to the goal of staying below 2°C degrees by 2050. The project departs from the discussions about working hours reduction, nonwork advocacy, and transition of the entire labor force to coding and data science. Instead, it argues that future work will be tethered to the very material processes of climate change mitigation and adaptation. This new type of work necessarily strides away from the white and blue-collar distinctions and emerges as a new category of its own: Terra-Collar. Scaling up to the amount of produced carbon emissions and limiting global warming will require an effort equivalent to the largest terraforming project in human history. It will demand mass labor mobilization as well as new knowledge, skills, and jobs to appear and disseminate across the globe. The end of time narratives that describe the climate crisis has demonstrated their inability to instigate effective actions against the problems that become more tangible every year. A new story is needed for the times we inhabit, one that motivates action with the tools at our disposal.