mutual education format

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Key words:

contemporary city, dystopia, climate chaos, social injustice, precariat, postanthropocene, paradigm of growth, alternatives to capitalism, life among the species, forms of resistance, art and activism, strategic town planning

The City Isn’t the Antithesis to Nature

The anthropocene perspective which places humankind in the immodest position of “lords” of the planet also crushes us, and engenders in us feelings of helplessness in the face of the irreversibility of climate catastrophe and social inequality. According to Marc Augè, “We remain in the eternal present because our visions of the future are dominated by dystopian scenarios”. The collapse of the human scale which was announced by Nicolas Bourriaud and the findings of numerous scientists and theoreticians reveal that our humanistic orientation toward humankind and our freedom and needs are no longer sufficient. We should begin to think beyond the anthropocene, to approach the world, life on the planet and society comprehensively. To enter into “life among the species”, as Rossi Braidotti defined the situation, and from this perspective to search for an escape from the paralysis of dystopian visions of the future and to achieve an understanding of new post-humanistic morals.
In the introduction to his publication entitled Extreme Cities, Ashley Dawson writes “Cities are not only dependant on nature, they also structure the growing chaos of our natural world.” According to Dawson, cities are the largest triggers of climate change but also the spaces in which social change can occur. They are the territories where thinking can be tested on a large scale and the possibilities of the actual impact and tactics moderating the approaching “climate chaos” can be studied. This interdisciplinary educational program strives to respond to the lack of positive visions for the functioning and transformation of cities.

Mutual Education

We have chosen such a wide baseline for compiling this mutual and interdisciplinary educational program whoch is a collaboration between and the Department of Architecture of the Historical Institute. Our ambition is to bring together professionals and students from the fields of art, architecture and other disciplines of science, technology as well as social activists twice a year and to educate each other in the form of short multiple-day seminars with a guest lecturer, and in the least hierarchical form possible, to study and discuss the strategies of combating the dystopian trends and to deliberate over possible visions of a sustainable and just future of cities for all (and not only human) beings.

Bratislava Case Study

We do not want to remain within the limits of study defined by the professional orientation of the initiating institutions operating in the field of visual art and architecture or fragment our program in an endless field of global theoretical thinking, but to anchor our own research in a specific material and territory, the city of Bratislava. Our ambition is not learning through academic analyses of selected global problems of the city and society, but to discuss the ways in which art and architecture can diminish such problems directly. To test the possibilities of specific approaches, performances and campaigns that will address the actual topic and problem of the city of Bratislava and will have the potential to result in a joint collective outcome whose form will also become a topic for discussion at seminars.

project initiated by: Eliška Mazalanová, Peter Szalay

A collaboration project between and Department of Architecture, Institute of History, Slovak Academy of Sciences.