Meet the new Strelka lecturers and experts for the 2020 education year.
Over the course of the next three years, Strelka Institute’s new education program The Terraforming will bring together a unique multidisciplinary faculty from around the world. Theorists and practitioners from a wide range of disciplines—among them philosophers, landscape architects, environmental journalists, and many others—will come to Moscow or give remote lectures. In addition to the faculty listed below, many more will be announced in the coming months.
Benjamin H. Bratton
Benjamin Bratton is the program director at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow, and a professor of visual arts at the University of California, San Diego. Bratton’s work spans philosophy, art, design, and computer science. He will be teaching a seminar based on his essay The Terraforming, published by Strelka Press. The seminar will be structured around three key concepts of the program: Artificiality, Astronomy, and Automation.
Boris Groys is a philosopher, essayist, art critic, media theorist, and internationally renowned expert on Soviet-era art and literature, specifically Russian avant-garde. He is a full professor of Russian and Slavic studies at New York University, and a professor of philosophy and art history at The European Graduate School (EGS). His work engages radically different traditions, from French poststructuralism to modern Russian philosophy, yet is firmly situated at the juncture of aesthetics and politics.
The Terraforming will focus on the centrality of Russian futurism, not just for Russia but also more generally, particularly in relation to artificiality. Groys’ work on Russian Cosmism, and also on minimalism and conceptualism, is particularly relevant to The Terraforming agenda.
Helen Hester is a senior lecturer in media and communication at the University of West London, and a member of the international feminist collective Laboria Cuboniks. Her research interests include technofeminism, sexuality studies, and theories of social reproduction. She is the author of Beyond Explicit: Pornography and the Displacement of Sex and Xenofeminism. Hester focuses on the ideas of what she calls techno-materialism, anti-naturalism, and gender abolitionism. Her module will look at the notion of alienation as a kind of productive position, particularly in relation to automation, which is related to forms of labor and gendered positions by which we are situated.
Nick Srnicek is a lecturer in digital economy at King’s College London. He is the author of Platform Capitalism (Polity, 2016) and co-author of Inventing the Future (Verso, 2015 with Alex Williams). He is currently working with Helen Hester to write After Work: The Fight for Free Time (Verso, 2020). Nick Srnicek’s module will look at how automation can and should take a different role within the economy and the redistribution of value.
Jussi Parikka is a Finnish media theorist and writer. He is a professor at the University of Southampton’s Winchester School of Art. Parikka is the author of several books on media theory, including Insect Media (2010), What is Media Archaeology? (2012), Digital Contagions (2016), and A Geology of Media (2015). The module run by Parikka will look at the geology of media, the archaeology of information, and a critical planetary mode and perspective.
Denis Leontiev is the co-founder and CEO of Strelka KB—Russia's leading urban strategy consultancy. Strelka KB was the first company in Russia to operate according to the principles of a public-benefit corporation, investing its profits in the educational and public outreach programs of Strelka Institute.
Angelina Davydova is an environmental journalist, director of the Bureau of Environmental Information, lecturer at St. Petersburg State University, observer at the UN climate change talks since 2008, and a fellow of The Humphrey Fellowship Program at the University of California, Davis (2018-2019). She has been focusing on developing environmental journalism in Russia and neighboring countries, and also on developing international cooperation in environmental and climate areas. She regularly contributes to Russian and international media, including Reuters news agency and Science magazine.
Kodwo Eshun is a filmmaker, theorist, and artist based in London. He is a lecturer in aural and visual culture at Goldsmiths, University of London. Eshun’s writing deals with cyberculture, science fiction, and music with a particular focus on where these ideas intersect with the African diaspora. In 2002, he founded The Otolith Group together with Anjalika Sagar. Their essayistic approach reflects on the perception and nature of documentary practice through films, texts, and activities related to media archives. The Otolith Group has grown as a collaborative platform that seeks to rethink the dynamics of cultural production under conditions of accelerated, unstable, and precarious global conditions.
Elie During is an associate professor and director of the master’s program in philosophy at Paris Nanterre University. He teaches seminars at the European Graduate School (EGS) and the École des Beaux-arts in Paris. Following several contributions to the Bergsonian scholarship, his current research focuses on the philosophical and wider cultural implications of the concepts of space-time and simultaneity at the crossroads of science, metaphysics, and art. It includes topics such as the interpretation of relativity physics, the philosophy of time, and the aesthetics of film, video, architecture, and contemporary arts.
Lisa Messeri is an assistant professor of sociocultural anthropology at Yale University. She received her PhD from MIT’s program in the history and anthropology of science and technology. Her research concerns how science and technology stretch our imaginations of what place is, and what it means to be in a place and in the world. Messeri’s first book, Placing Outer Space (Duke 2016), is an ethnography of planetary science, studying how scientists transform planets into worlds. Her current research, supported by the NSF Scholars Award, focuses on the virtual reality community in Los Angeles.
Kim Stanley Robinson
Kim Stanley Robinson is an award-winning American writer of science fiction. He has published 19 novels and numerous short stories, but he is best known for his Mars trilogy. His work has been translated into 24 languages. Many of his novels and stories have ecological, cultural, and political themes. His work was labeled by The Atlantic as “the gold standard of realistic, and highly literary, science fiction writing.” According to The New Yorker, Robinson is “generally acknowledged as one of the greatest living science fiction writers.”
Nicolay Boyadjiev is an architect and design strategist based between Montreal and Moscow. He is working at the intersection of architecture, concept design, and platform urbanism, with his recent projects focusing on addressability, modelling, and cognitive extraction at the urban scale. His design and conceptual work has received multiple awards and has been showcased in Volume, Fast Company, and Architect Magazine. Nicolay has lectured at various academic institutions in Europe and North America, and is currently the design and education tutor at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow.
Design Earth is a collaborative practice led by El Hadi Jazairy and Rania Ghosn. The office’s work engages the geographic to open up a range of aesthetic and political concerns for architecture and urbanism. Design Earth is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Rania Ghosn is an architect and geographer. She is currently an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture + Planning. El Hadi Jazairy is a licensed architect and an assistant professor of architecture at the University of Michigan.
Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst
Holly Herndon is an American composer, musician, and sound artist based in Berlin. Her music is primarily computer-based and often uses the visual programming language Max/MSP to create custom instruments and vocal processes. Her most recent full-length album Proto was released on May 10, 2019.
Mat Dryhurst is a “medium-agnostic” artist and thinker whose work intersects with the worlds of music, tech, art, philosophy, and activism. He built a self-hosting publishing framework called Saga, and sits on the board of the streaming collective Resonate. He has a broad range of interests but has lately been focusing on questions of possible forms of human community under the conditions of information capitalism, the limits and powers of machine learning, and the significance of blockchain technologies. He teaches at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute in Berlin.
Their module will explore the relationship between artificiality and sound, as well as voice and expression.
Robert Gerard Pietrusko
Robert Gerard Pietrusko is an associate professor of landscape architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design, where his teaching and research focus on geographic representation, simulation, narrative cartography, and the history of spatial data sets. His design work is part of the permanent collection of the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris and has been exhibited in over 10 countries at venues such MoMA, the ZKM Center for Art & Media, and the Venice Architecture Biennale, among others.
Prior to joining the faculty of GSD, Pietrusko worked as a designer with Diller Scofidio + Renfro in New York, and held research positions at Parsons Institute for Information Mapping at the New School and at Columbia University’s Spatial Information Design Lab.
Xin Liu is an artist and engineer. She is currently the arts curator at the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative. Mixing scientific research with personal narratives, she creates transformative, participatory experiences and bodily objects to examine the constitution of subjectivity and affects. In the midst of the paradigm shift between technology and humanity, she tries to weave new connections for active participation. The goal is to reconfigure the tools of technology, not for exploitation but for the recovery of human feelings, affects, and emotions; not for hegemonic control of life, but for the discovery of a bottom-up evolution through subjective experience.
Liam Young is an architect and filmmaker who operates in the spaces between design, fiction, and futures. He runs the M.A.program in Fiction and Entertainment at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles and has taught internationally at institutions including the Architectural Association and Princeton University. He is the founder of Tomorrow's Thoughts Today - a London-based think-tank exploring the consequences of fantastic, speculative, and imaginary urbanisms. Liam also co-founded the Unknown Fields Division, an award-winning nomadic workshop that travels on annual expeditions to the ends of the earth to investigate unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains, and industrial ecologies. Each year of the program, Young will lead a field trip to a remote destination in Russia.
The work of Amsterdam-based collective Metahaven consists of filmmaking, writing, design, and installations, and is united conceptually by interests in poetry, storytelling, digital superstructures, and propaganda. They explore new genres of cinema that link fiction and non-fiction, philosophy and poetry. Films by Metahaven include The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda) (2015), Information Skies (2016), Possessed (2018, with Rob Schröder), Hometown (2018), and Eurasia (Questions on Happiness) (2018). Publications include Digital Tarkovsky (2018), PSYOP (2018), Black Transparency (2015), and Uncorporate Identity (2010). Their work is screened, published, and exhibited worldwide.
Geoff Manaugh is a writer and founder of BLDGBLOG, one of the most acclaimed architecture and design websites. In addition to writing, Geoff lectures on topics related to architecture, technology, and landscape at venues and academic institutions around the world. Geoff Manaugh is the author of the New York Times bestselling book A Burglar’s Guide to the City and The BLDGBLOG Book. Previously, Manaugh was senior editor of Dwell and a contributing editor at Wired UK. He is also the former director of Studio-X NYC, an urban think-tank and event space at Columbia University’s GSAPP.
Holly Jean Buck
Holly Jean Buck is a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. She is interested in how communities can be involved in the design of emerging environmental technologies. She works at the intersection of environmental sociology, international development, and science and technology studies. Her module will look at how the technologies of geodesign can be used to bring down carbon levels in ways that are more democratic, decentralized, and participatory.