Above and Below : Roots, Vines, and Other Systems of Vertical Time
modeling the near-futures on other-than-human schedule
Winter School Academy of Architecture 2023
Led by artist, researcher, and PhD Mari Bastashevski, the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture Winter School 2023 was a world-making proposition informed by the material temporalities that govern other-than-human cultures. How does delving into other-than-human temporalities help us unlearn the managerial hierarchies?
For centuries, planning the future of humans has been a process of proposing even faster ways of extracting, mapping, separating, colonizing, and governing other-than-human agencies, to harvest other-than-human intelligence and resources for exclusively human advantage. The methodology for a manageable planet is so deeply entrenched in our cultural practices that this imperative dominates almost all future-centric technological research in the eco-techno-futurism portfolio.
Architecture, like other disciplines in the cluster of earth (crisis) management, is already routinely encountering other-than-human time by dealing with earthly entropy, the life span of materials, the demand for newness and overhaul, and ensuring the life-spans of constructions, and more directly by prescribing certain aesthetic regimes of rest and productivity. But time is also the “inner sense” through which we initiate ourselves and our inner states inwardly. Time determines how we separate ourselves from others; it is an a priori intuition and the very means by which we experience and define ourselves. Without clearly intuited temporality, we would no longer have an experience of inner and outer.
Each of our groups in Winter School was asked to delve into the nesting temporalities of birds, of insects, the curatorial precision of fossils, the vanishing acts of cats, the extensive migration of snails, and other more-than-human timelines, to reorient within the socio-cultural and emotional experience of time. For example, whether other-than-humans experience past and future, regret, or indecision.
The overarching objective lies in the process of delving into other-than-human time. Each group speculates about the future of boundaries and territories - between inner and outer, self and other, process and object, which could allow other-than-humans to take part in the production of the models we make, the stories we tell, and how we tell them.
During the Winter School, all 1st- and 2nd-year students worked on an assignment as an interdisciplinary team. This assignment challenged and crossed the boundaries of the three fields of study, and trained the students’ intuition to transform an idea into an inspired product within a limited timespan (+/- 10 days). The result varied from built objects to statements, manifestos, plans, visions, and ideas. This year’s Winter School was held from 12 to 20 January 2023.
Bio Mari Batashevski
Mari Bastashevski is an artist, PhD and a lecturer at KIT, NTNU and a 2023 guest scholar at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Her current research centres on future imaginaries that cut beyond the culture of techno-optimism and collapsism. In 2021, while at ALICE lab at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, she spent a lot of time with a rout of garden snails, thinking through the tripartite relationship between animals, humans, and technology and working on research that explores how emerging technologies of seeing, such as VR, could become sites of field research into said relationships. Her past photography work emerges from extensive online and field investigations and explores the role of visual presentation in creating and sustaining conflicts within the hegemonic ideological status quo. She has exhibited with Bonniers Konsthalle, Maison Populaire, Musée de l’Elysée, HKW Berlin, Art Souterrain, Noorderlicht, and published in Time Magazine, The New York Times, Courrier International, Le Monde, e-flux, VICE, among others. She was artist-in-residence at Château D’Oiron, Cité des Art, Mediamatic, and IASPIS and a research fellow at the Data & Society Institute in New York and ISP, Yale. Additionally, she is an editor at Humanimalia, an open-access journal of human/animal studies published in Utrecht, Netherlands.