Scholars' Association News
Issue 42
June 2017


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"Tomorrows": An exhibition that brings the future closer than ever

"Tomorrows": The earth viewed as a city that is constantly spreading out, in an exhibition that talks about the future today.

The "Tomorrows" exhibition designed by the Onassis Cultural Centre will run at the Diplarios School (3 Theatrou Square, Athens) from 16 May to 16 July, focusing on the diverse aspects of the future today, approached through the works of artists, architects and designers who tell tales about possible future worlds, and the struggles and expectations of their residents. Current trends were the inspiration for hypothetical -and often exaggerated- future scenarios.

The exhibition curated by Dafni Dragona and Panos Dragonas includes video installations, architectural narratives, drawings, models and mock-ups of hypothetical systems, costumes and 3D printouts. By narrating various tales, all of which relate to the future, the aim is to present practices, methods and tools to encourage a more critical approach to the present.

The exhibition features 33 solo or group works, new productions, and important pieces on display for the first time in Greece, and answers a series of political, social and moral questions in a quite natural way. How close are we to the meta-human era? How should we deal with the future that is rapidly heading our way?

The starting points for the "Tomorrows" exhibition were two important historical works from the 1960s, "Electronic Urbanism" by the architect Takis C. Zenetos and "Ecumenopolis", by the architect and urban planner Constantinos Doxiadis, which engage in dialogue with the present day and provoke awe. Important modern works enrich our experience of the future. Just some of them are the new video installation by the architect Liam Young (produced by the Onassis Cultural Centre, based on a workshop run in March in Athens) and the works of artists such as Pinar Yoldas,! Mediengruppe Bitnik, Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke, as well as Lina Theodorou. In the "Tomorrows" exhibition, architects such as the AREA (Architecture Research Athens) group, Aristidis Antonas, and Design Earth, as well as designers like Metahaven, Adam Harvey and Behnaz Farahi provide their own take on the future, while university architecture and design departments, such as Michael Young's Advanced Studio from Yale University and Penelope Haralambidou's MΑrch Unit 24 from the Bartlett School of London, showcase practices and methods that allow us to think that we are probably already living in the future…

The future today seems closer than ever. Various environmental, technological and social changes are transforming our planet and require us to think about our place on it. The earth resembles a city that is constantly spreading out, yet other areas are being abandoned due to climate change and extreme socio-political conditions. Life in cities is reorganizing thanks to smart systems that are constantly processing man's and machines' movements. Artificial ecologies promise answers to the impacts of man's activities on the natural environment, and the needs of an ever-growing population. However, what do those changes mean for the future? What is man's role in the rapidly transforming urban and natural environment?

The narratives touch on techno-natural environments, new types of shells for humans and other living beings, the emergence of a data-driven society, and the redefinition of the role of the human in relation to nature and technology.

Participants: !Mediengruppe Bitnik / Morehshin Allahyari and Daniel Rourke, with ARTEKLAB, Darlene Farris-Labar, Antonio Esparza and Geraldine Juárez / AREA (Architecture Research Athens) / Aristidis Antonas / Erich Berger & Mari Keto / James Bridle / Emma Charles / Shu Lea Cheang / Maolis Daskalakis-Lemos / Konstantinos Doxiadis / Cathryn Dwyre and Chris Perry, with Hailey Beyer, Gabriela Fiorentino, Yara Kawar, Dariusz Kulinski, Skye Ruozzi, Richard Sarrach and Jacob Wigton / Design Earth / Benhaz Farahi / Kyriaki Goni / Penelope Haralambidou & MArch Unit 24, Bartlett UCL / Adam Harvey / Lydia Kallipoliti and Andreas Theodoridis, with Xueping Li, Erica Vinson, Dakota Pace and Seraphim Le / Dimitra Katsota and The Coastal Domains Option Studio, Department of Architecture of the University of Patra / Zisis Kotionis / Metahaven / New Affiliates & Farzin Farzin / Maria Paneta and Ava Aghakouchak / Point Supreme Architects / Tobias Revell / Ross Stevens, Simon Fraser and Samuel Munneke, with Nichole Hone, Evangeline Martin and Loek Ties Hendriks, Victoria University of Wellington / Stefanis Strouza and the New Raw / Vasilia Stylianidou / Lina Theodorou / Zinovia Toloudi / Pinar Yoldas / Liam Young / Michael Young and Yale School of Architecture Advanced Studio / Takis C. Zenetos.

Parallel events included talks and workshops for adults, children and schools. On the evening of 17 May, the Diplarios School amphitheatre hosted "Tomorrow's Talks" including sections on: "Techno-Natural Environments in the Era of Climate Change" with Stefania Strouza, Fotini Setaki, Zinovia Toloudi and Michael Young; "Garments for a Surveilled Future" with Behnaz Farahi and Adam Harvey; and "Images from the City of Tomorrow" with Penelope Haralambidou and Liam Young.

On 29 June to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Takis C. Zenetos, who was one of the key personalities in Greek architecture and a proponent of visionary, radical modernism, the Onassis Cultural Centre's Upper Stage is hosting an event entitled "Takis C. Zenetos: Electronic Urbanism, 40 years on". In addition to being an acclaimed designer with an outstanding grasp of technology, Zenetos was an indefatigable researcher who prepared visionary studies that reflected the needs of a world much more advanced than the Greece of the 1970s. By studying articles from scientific journals of his age, Zenetos accurately foresaw many of the electronic applications that are so decisive in 21st century life, such as the tele-processing and remote work, and designed a wide range of exceptionally inventive infrastructures on various scales. The detailed presentation of his study on "Electronic Urbanism" at the "Tomorrows" exhibition offers a chance to become reacquainted with Zenetos' visionary work. The talk will focus on key principles underscoring Zenetos' research into the city and home of the future, and will re-appraise "Electronic Urbanism" in light of current technological and social developments. It will also seek to showcase certain hidden aspects of Greek modernism and the visionaries of the 1960s.

The panel of speakers includes Panos Dragonas, architect and University of Patra professor; Lydia Kallipoliti, architect, Assoc. Professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Manolis Marmaras, architect, Technological University of Crete professor; Giorgos Tzirtzilakis, architect and Adj. Professor at the University of Thessaly.

The workshop for adults to be hosted at the Diplarios School will include sections on: "Impossible Place: Critical Design and Urban Spaces: on 27-29 May 2017, with Strange Telemetry (Tobias Revell and Georgina Voss); "#Additivism Workshop: Designing Post-Natural Futures" on 10-11 June 2017 with Daniel Rourke; and "Biohack like your grandma ‒ fermentation practices and the future of food" on 15‒16 July 2017, with Denisa Kera and Matthias Fritsch.

Lastly the children's workshop entitled "Pavements: our city in miniature" will be held from 14 May to 18 June 2017 in a series of 6 sessions at the Onassis Cultural Centre. Contributors: Vasilis Vasiliadis, Fanis Kafantaris, Stavros Mouzakitis (architects) and Catriona Gallagher (artist).

More information can be found on the exhibition's website.

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