Making Futures School
Things to Make and Do
Tempted by fate
And I won’t hesitate
The time is nowLet’s make this moment last…
Give up yourself unto the moment
The time is now
Give up yourself unto the moment
Let’s make this moment, last
Moloko, The Time is Now, from the album Things to Make and Do (2000)
“I want to alter how we think and imagine geological relations in non-extractive modes, to think about encountering the coming storm in ways that do not facilitate its permanent renewal.”
Kathryn Yusoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes, University of Minnesota Press (2019)
Thinking beyond how to construct the future, we could begin by asking: What sustains the future as a construct in itself? A linear narrative of the future characterised by progress-driven, forward-facing expansion perpetuated by the West has brought us to our current “now”: An exhausted Earth. A Damaged Planet. A Broken World. The Anthropocene. The Racial Capitalocene.
Against this backdrop, spatial practices have long been complicit in furthering the fast-paced growth and speculation driven production of space. The construction sector, in particular, evidences a gross imbalance between the energy and matter it consumes and its capacity to repurpose it. And, in keeping with the ethos of neoliberalism, the field of architecture has immortalised the individualist, solution oriented “architect-hero”.
Why then convene a school for spatial practices to act now? And how to bring it into being? If the Bauhaus as a school was able to develop a striking thesis on the position of architecture and the architect in the society of the early 20th century, Making Futures School asks: how does architecture – and the architect – act in the society of the early 21st century in an accountable way? These questions overlap with the double perspective of the School, which views architecture as a collective form and architecture as a resource, examined from the perspectives of education and (future) spatial practice.
Making Futures School invites us to explore forms of productive cooperation, exchange, solidarity and living. Acting as a non-disciplinary learning environment, the School proposes, designs, builds, negotiates, maintains, performs and celebrates an educational and convivial space in and around Haus der Statistik, Berlin. By situating the School within a live construction site, Making Futures imbues itself within the transformation of a building, which in turn provides the impetus for other transformative processes: of the self and as a collective body.
The School is constituted by more than just a predetermined curriculum; when designing it we thought about the different elements, qualities and attributes that it should be composed of. This has meant developing its style and intensity; rethinking its mission and agency; considering the nature of its own ecology and the resources of its context; and reflecting upon its manifestation to its representation. When a school is conceived in this way, delivering a lecture, preparing a meal or building a bench all become acts of equal importance. The intention is to create a support structure – with ‘others’: wishing that this open form allows the unthinkable and the unprovable to emerge while at the same time provides a welcoming, nurturing and nourishing environment. How then to maintain small-scale intimacy while also being open for many to get involved?
After a series of short-term action-led research activities in Berlin, Istanbul, Palermo and Oberweissbach, Making Futures School situates its School in Haus der Statistik, Berlin to explore further forms of productive cooperation, exchange, solidarity and living.
Making Futures School’s activities will entail a mix of process-driven as well as applied research strategies, including – but not limited to – research-based interventions throughout the building; working with the local community to propose pioneer uses; or rethinking education in spatial practices.
Over the course of two weeks, over 80 participants will take part in a diverse curriculum convened by practitioners in the field of spatial practices. Acting as a non-disciplinary learning environment, the School proposes, designs, builds, negotiates, maintains, performs and celebrates an educational and convivial space in and around Haus der Statistik, Berlin. At the same time, it becomes a dynamic actor within a process of urban transformation, serving as a common sphere of action between participants, neighbours and civic society.
Complementing its day-sessions, a wide-ranging evening public programme or Night School will comprise reading groups, screenings, lectures and performances – sometimes hosted by the School working groups and sometimes by external invitees – it is an open invitation for the local Berlin public to encourage further exchange.
The School’s activities will oscillate between Haus der Statistik and our satellite site, the Floating University. Empty since 2008, the School’s core site, the DDR-constructed Haus der Statistik is itself the subject of a unique process of transformation, where civic and public actors collaborate at eye-level to collectively invent its future.
The School will continue to explore Making Futures’ action-research fields:
Collectivity – How can we construct and read the built environment as bringing together the cultural, the social, the economic and the political?;
Resource – How can architecture be understood as a resource calling for lasting dynamics, such as recuperation and maintenance?;
Education – How can educational curricula be reworked to better reflect the social potential of the spatial practices?; and
Practice – What possibilities emerge when we understand architecture as being not just concerned with the production of shapes and objects, but as a form of agency itself?
The two-week period of the School will follow a series of phases:
Encounter – entailing two days of coming together, getting to know the city and ourselves. Emergence – participants begin to constitute the School via a series of moderated assemblages before organising into the different working groups led by invited facilitators.
Production – each group goes on developing mutual research and learning processes.
Exchange – the juncture where outcomes will be shared within the groups and also with the wider public.
Making Futures School embraces prevailing narratives of uncertainty through the lens of criticality and honours minor acts by focusing on what we have at hand. We propose to work towards building up alliances and making transversal connections with people across, disciplines, institutions and territories that transcend the boundaries of the academic world and go beyond the borders of Europe.
With Bellastock (Simon Jacquemin), Juan Chacón, Izaskun Chinchilla, CHOR der Statistik, Comunal: Taller de Arquitectura (Mariana Ordoñez & Jesica Amescua), Mauricio Corbalan, Ignacio de Antonio Antón, Johanna Dehio & David Moritz, Christopher Dell, Ignacio Farías, Fem_Arc (Océane Reveillac, Lara Stöhlmacher), Berit Fischer, Floating e.V., The Funambulist (Margarida N. Waco), Jon Goodbun, Alex Groß, Saskia Hebert, Elise Hunchuck, Georgi Ivanov, Valentina Karga, Kathleen Knitter, Bernd Köhler, Bernd Kniess, Bernd Köhler, Anna Kokalanova, Elke Krasny, Tor Lindstrand, Christof Mayer, No-Shade, Marion von Osten, Point of Interest (POI): Rosario Hurtado, Roberto Feo, Stuart Bannocks, Michael Patrick) Radio Späkauf (Maisie Hitchcock, Joel Dullroy, Jöran Mandik, Daniel Stern), raumlaborberlin (Markus Bader & Christof Mayer), Alona Rodeh, Gözde Sarlak & Moritz Ahlert, Tatjana Schneider, Dubravka Sekulić, Fiona Shipwright, Jonathan Solomon, Stavros Stavrides, Rosario Talevi, Urban Gossipm Mara Usai, Jean Philippe Vassal, Die Vielen, Raul Walch, Janin Walter, Zuloark