The New Normal

By Marcus on 8. September 2017 — 2 mins read

Benjamin Bratton war am Montag in Berlin. Weil The Stack nach wie vor ungelesen rumliegt, noch mal kurz in The New Normal geschaut.

At Strelka, the previous program´s research theme was called „Hybrid Urbanism“, based on the idea that physical/virtual mixtures are still a novel hybrid. But this interlacing is not a hybrid; it´s a normal thing, and if we don´t have the right words to name it, then let´s make them.

The language of hybrids is part of the problem. When something appears, we may understand it as a combination of familiar things – horseless carriage.

In the short term, hybrids may make sense by way of analogy and continuity, but soon they create confusion.

So instead of piling on more hybrids, exceptions and anomalies, we need a glossary for a new normal, and for its design and redesign.


To assume that the future will be like the present – only more so  – is a risky bet. The historical evidence is against it.

Among relevant J. G. Ballard quotes is „the future is a better key to the present than the past“ – Oh Mann, dies mal kurz mit Blick auf das Curriculum gegenwärtiger Studiengänge in Deutschland auf der Zunge zergehen lassen.


Our brief takes the year 2050 as a target. 2050 is not the future. We are designing 2050 right now.


When Curtis {Hypernormalization} announces that now „no one has any vision for a different or better kind of future“, he speaks only for himself.

We also see the new normal in the long collapse of avant-garde novelty cycles, such that technologies become normal before they become real.


For all our interest in planetary-scale systems, the most cutting-edge aspects of urbanism are at the level of sensing and sensation, both human and machinic…Concurrently, technologies that augment human sensation … are becoming mainstream.

At stake is both how we sense the city and how the city senses us, and  itself, and thus how each „make sense“ of the other in return. Our interest: extending what can be experienced and modeled.

Was wären Fragen jetzt an Bratton? Vielleicht:

Wenn „the future a better key to the present than the past is“ – wie operationalisieren wir dieses fancy quote in der akademischen Arbeit? Spekulativ?

Dazu zeigt er die Folie MODELS DESCRIPTIVE PREDICTIVE PROJECTIVE. Ein Methode, um im Dreischritt von der Beschreibung der Gegenwart über die Spekulation zum „Was wäre denn gut“ zu kommen.

Wenn the „most cutting-edge aspects of urbanism are at the level of sensing and sensation“ – was ist zu untersuchen im Kontext Mixed Reality  / Spatial Computing aus seiner Sicht.

Da versteht er meine Frage akustisch nicht, statt AR nur AI. Und: Alles ist gar nicht so neu, sondern in der Historie verankert. Well.

Fazit: Die Arbeiten die in Moskau entstanden sind, sehen gut aus. Vielleicht sogar zu gut.


Interner Querverweis auf 2014: Die Zukunft sieht am Anfang immer albern aus. Entwicklungen werden über- oder unterschätzt. Beklatscht oder Abgelehnt. Und am Ende sieht dann alles ein bisschen anders aus. Und wird doch. The New Normal. Bald ohne New. Dafür dann aber. Bald. Mit Old.