Oxford Brookes University
"There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes".
Experimentation is a practice which enables action or experience to intersect with knowledge. It plays a key role in the culture and politics of modern society. Used in research, the act of conducting an experiment allows a theory to be tested, proven or disproved. Failures and "unexpected outcomes", as Buckminster Fuller argues, are as important in the process of experience and learning as proving 'truths'.
In 2010-2011 DS1 focused on imagining a futuristic experimental society living in the shifting landscape of Iceland, the site was visited during late October 2010. The studio was speculative and critical in its endeavour to analyse the way we live as a society. Iceland was chosen because of its role in the recession but also because of its magnificent changing icy landscape. The studio explored urban and architectural scales of design.
In Semester 1, 2010-2011 students designed their vision of 'Edilia: A Futuristic Experimental Society'. [Edilia pronounced A-dil-ya, comes from the Greek word, alani or 'open space']. Inspired by the utopian essay, 'Edilia, or 'Make of it what you will' in Spaces of Hope by David Harvey (1997, pp.257-281), students were asked to reconsider the relationship between capitalist society, industrialisation, nature and human inhabitation in the future.
The design project questioned current values associated with wealth, ownership, gender roles, intellectual property, experiments on animals/plants/humans; every aspect of how we live with one another, nature, technology, development and the environment and to do it in an inventive way.
In Semester 2, 2010-2011 students resolved and developed one of the 'architectures' within the society designed in Semester 1.
The DS1 studio research questions were: If we consider how the internet is the "largest experiment in anarchy" (Eric Schmidt), what is an unimagined technological, digital/virtual, social, or political experiment that will completely change society? What is a social experiment? What is the form of a future society that is a new experiment?