A labyrinth of lines in cryptic plans, a secret language of its own. Tiny models, fake trees and people dependent on skilled minds to imagine walls overgrown by shrubs of rules and regulations. Seemingly impossible to overcome. And then 39 letters. Thirty-nine letters to help make all the difference — the start of a quest.
“Architects are the choreographers of society” – 39 letters – the start into a world of built environments and the quest to explore all there is in-between.
I became part of a five year endeavour funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas to create two strong research environments ‘Architecture in the Making’ (based at Chalmers in Gothenburg) and ‘Architecture in Effect’ (based at KTH in Stockholm) and the national research school ‘ResArc’ (based at LTH in Lund). Alongside great minds, in their field, I got to enter a whole new thought scape driven by environments and their ecological challenges, economies, markets and their socio-political constitutions and territorial (often imaginary) restrictions.
Title : Future Fortunes
Year : 2015 - 2018, Stockholm
Role : Experience Designer
Is : a strong research environment
Should be : ongoing
Will : remain challenged
To grasp this alien world, I explored means of illustrations, maps and charts to provide visual clues of systemic sense-making to myself and others. A network of entangled relations, dependencies and secret patterns of hierarchical ground testings and ritualistic calibrations. I found some perspectives on the inner workings of this machine of knowledge production, the negotiations of an intangible value system of critique and funding trades around publications and appearance. A constant “Let’s just take our shirts off – the pants can stay on”.
Gaining and allowing others to access the famous ivory tower is challenging and will be constant. There can’t be enough of these flows of matter and mind, finding ways of addressing the critiqued (and not running away into the world before anybody could respond) understanding knowledge as material that can be reformed, repurposed and should be for all. In this project, some attempts were made through a series of seminars, a book publication (see massive brick below) and exhibition at ArkDes Stockholm (photographs by Matti Östling and Janek Ozmin) and were considered very successful and fun. Still, questions around acquisition and distribution of research funding, systemic, sustainable long-term decision making and critical reflection of the constituting systems remain at the core of this quest.