‘Parallel Worlds’: Design Interactions and ADSO4 at RCA

Went to a great alumni event on Thursday night hosted by Design Interactions and Architecture departments at the RCA about speculative storytelling called ‘Parallel Worlds’. An opportunity to see projects that hint at alternative sets of underlying values and alternative political/economic/social situations.

It was a real opportunity to see some graduates and current students work in a 7 minute pecha kucha style presentation format. It had the essence of being in a crit but with beer and without the criticism!
For me it was the first time I had seen architecture student’s work from the platform run by Gerard and previously Fiona. As it was a night of storytelling about possible, preferable, plausible, potential futures each presenter had a particular concern relating to social and cultural implications of technologies/scientific developments ranging from the post-antibiotic era and atavism, nuclear waste and the cyborg self to energy pasts, biometrics and gait analysis at the airport. Each was expressed with an opening question and then a description of a scenario/ investigation using film, montage, design prototypes etc.

The real interesting thing for me that came out of that evening was the chance to see the similarities and differences in how the two courses speculate, communicate and develop projects.  There are obviously different guidance curriculums for DI and for ADS4. DI deals in broad scope and in depth but with no direct methodologies or ways of exploring something and not always a defined end point i.e. services, products, films or installation or interventions.  I realised the ADS4 have obviously very different end goals to any project explorations, they will inevitably design a building.

Presenters and their project summaries:

DRIVING WITH THE JONES_NICOLA KOLLER (ADS04 2003) Driving with the Jones explores a world in which the English countryside might finally succumb to tragi-pathogens, falling EEC subsides and ever decreasing profits.
THE RACE_ MICHAEL BURTON (DI 2007) www.michael-burton.co.uk Can human metagenomics give us new ideals of health, enhancement and success as a “super-organism”?
THE GREAT INDOORS _ TOMAS KLASSNIK (ADS04 [2006]) _  [www.klassnik.com] Do we still want to participate directly in society? or would we prefer to interact solely through the comforting distance of the internet?
ORGANIC HYBRIDS AND THE POSTBIOLOGICAL WORLD _ REVITAL COHEN (DI 2008) revitalcohen.com Could cross-breeding of the natural kingdoms give birth to new sorts of cyborgs?
THE RADIANCE RESORT _  RACHEL HARDING (ADS04 2009)
Can embracing the health benefits of toxicity persuade society to trust nuclear power?
THE GOLDEN INSTITUTE _ SASCHA POHFLEPP (DI 2009) What would have become of the future of energy if Ronald Reagan had never happened?
ETERNALLY YOURS : HUMAN(ITY) SHIELD _ CLAIRE JAMIESON (ADS04 2009) Can the disposal of nuclear waste be ensured for 10,000 years by the creation of a synthetic mythology?
SELF DEFENSE : BERNHARD HOPFENGAERTNER (DI 2009) How will the disclosure of our private emotions alter the way we see ourselves?
CHAMBERS WHARF _ SAFIA QURESHI (ADS04 2010)
Can a new school typology remove societies fear of children?
THE PHYSICS OF THE IMPOSSIBLE- NELLY BEN HAYOUN (DI 2009) “How can I make a galaxy in my kitchen sink, professor?”
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