‘When it comes, the culture of the Now will not oppose the present world as an invading army opposes its enemy, but rather as a new day overtakes the old – in the natural course of things, when the old world is tired and asleep and dreaming of this dawn.’ • Lebbeus Woods
Even among the most sceptical minds it is normal to find some extra scepticism and anti-fairy dust when the agenda is imaginative architecture – as if such practice immediately anuls the reality of the ‘real’ world. But as the Dead Kennedys once sang, one only needs to spend a ‘holiday in Cambodia’ to experience a less jazzy dose of reality’s elasticity where one finds killing fields, a lake that is also a river changing current once a year, ‘smoky mountains’ (the capital’s open garbage dump), DIY bamboo trains and the slums made up of New Khmer Architecture buildings. Cambodia is made of the real and the painfully real, but it also holds a strangely real charm.
Departing from the study of the four elements – fire, water, earth and air – this year’s work incorporated the context of Cambodia and Lebbeus Woods’ concept of the Four Cities, asking students to develop their own imaginary ‘what-if-worlds’. From making interactive prototypes that considered how new networks of living and working could be organised, to writing fictions based on social practices and local rituals, the final project included experiments on more physical prototypes and drawings as renderings.
Flying cities, supernatural shrines, post-human temples, floating villages, underground fishing reservoirs, and we kid you not, New Jerusalem virtual nervous towers – within these fictive worlds, students searched for their own narratives and the possibility of turning them into a reality – an imaginative, hopeful and above all tangible one – at least as any good punk-fairy would.
Ricardo de Ostos
Apostolos Despotidis, Abel Maciel, Samantha Lee, Oliviu Lugojan-Ghenciu, Yael Reisner, Alex Kaiser, Javier Castañón, Khyle Raja, Brendon Carlin, Barbara-Ann Campbell-Lange, Goswin Schwendinger, Giles Bruce, Basmah Kaki, Charlotte Moe, Alma Wang, Tolga Hazan, Anis Wan Kamaruddin, Karsten Huneck, Ariadna Barthe, Christopher Pierce, Brett Steele, Alice Labourel, Simon Withers, Katerina Dionysopoulou, Jana Scholze, Catherine Ince, Wolfgang Frese, Elke Presser, Yeena Yoon, Jorge Godoy