The New Normal, a three year-long educational programme at Moscow's Strelka Institute of Architecture, Media and Design, is focused on "the opportunities posed by emerging technologies for interdisciplinary design practices." In this short essay, taken from a new book of the same name, course director Benjamin Bratton lays out the thesis behind the project.
Something has shifted, it seems. We are making new worlds faster than we can keep track of them, and the pace is unlikely to slow. If our technologies have advanced beyond our ability to conceptualize their implications, such gaps can be perilous. In response, one impulse is to pull the emergency brake and to try put all the genies back in all the bottles. This is ill-advised (and hopeless).
Better instead to invest in emergence, in contingency: to map the new normal for what it is, and to shape it toward what it should be.