fabulation session 20131107-8 AltArt, Transylvania. Faciliated by Istvan Szakats
Cities are becoming ever more significant habitats for humans in the future. Envisioning the future of the city can bring forth significant assumptions about our individual and social identity. What kinds of paths can city development take? What kinds of social movements will it encompass? What will be our place in the city we will live in 20 years from now? Who will we be and what we will do?
(notes from day 1)
Group – Rarita
Likes – What do we like / love about cities?
Dislikes – What do we dislike / hate about cities?
(notes from day 2)
Group – Mihaela
The mayor of Minsk was a famous and charismatic cosmonaut. He was a participant for a year in a Bollywood reality show portraying life on an Indian Space Station. The show illustrated the daily life of cosmonauts: men, women, pets and robots.
The mayor from Minsk was the first foreign guest on the show. The crew of the first Indian mission to Mars came to Minsk one day for a very mediated event, invited by the mayor.
The mayor had Bollywood support as well as the support of space nostalgics in Belarus. He started the first space art scholarship for unprivileged kids in Minsk and helped to establish a space / science / technology-research hub. The mayor strongly influenced the development of the city because of his political charisma and international legitimacy.
Minsk became a tech-oriented society connected with the Baltic tech hub, but largely ignored the social problems of the city among communities that did not interact with space industry. These communities followed a European opinion of what a society should be rather then the Bollywood ideal of space industry and the supporting infrastructure on Earth.
There was a group of “radical disintermediationalists” - protesters against centralized technology and mediation of experience and for the direct experience of reality. Mostly average citizens and post-media hackers and tricksters, they tried to hijack the TV broadcasts of the mayor and his Indian guests and reduce access to the event for the fans in India. The protesters created the first physical protest in years. Thousands took to the streets but since such a physical protest had not happened in recent years, security preparations were incomplete inadequate. The authorities tried to offer free vodka to buy off the protesters; vodka sales had been restricted in the city for the past 10 years.
Other groups also tried to claim attention during the spectacle: for example, protesting against the failed reforestation initiative to protect the city from floods caused by the melting permafrost. The authorities and especially the Mayor promoted it as a safe and eco-friendly solution but it was not completely successful and the river crossing Minsk was still a threat.
The disintermediation society:
This group believed in the direct experience of reality. Any technology that puts layers between you and reality is a threat and is not to be trusted: it must be replaced or destroyed. They created an electro-magnetic pole that impeded the use of technology during their protest.
The low probability, high impact protest led to the freezing of daily routines in the city. Protesters encouraged people to occupy the transport infrastructure (metro, electric cars, etc.) and attempted to “disintermediate” the transport infrastructure by using metro carriages for parties, blocking other users. Infrastructure media showed that there was no available transport, which persuaded people to stay home with friends, join parties and avoid the mediated spectacle of the Bollywood-inspired event.