Intro To Social Design Utopia And Conversion

There will be a series of classes in participatory social design, offered on a repeating basis. The courses are always experimental and experiential: there is no one format for every class; they eschew the planning mentality (planning the lives of others); they will be opportunities to try designing the society one wishes to be part of. Courses will sometimes end with detailed models—reduced-scale, full-scale, diagrammatic, or narrative. But sometimes the course will end with self-creative actions—students undertaking cooperative actions, students moving to a moribund town and creating a new form of life there, students returning to an already vibrant conviviality and influencing its ongoing emergence, students withdrawing their energies from state social practices and doing something else in their stead, students inspiring participatory social design elsewhere with others. In the multiple and interconnected but specific exercises of each course, we acquire and advance the skills necessary for putting another practice into play than that of the state, the market, industrial medicine, institutional education, or law. In short, we bring into being the new sociality even as in our work as students and teachers, in both the content and form of our engagement. The goal is to learn creatively to fit one’s unique socio-individuality into multiple socialities, contributing to their supple, ever-changeful life. It’s called Sociatecture; there cannot be a new society without continuous inventions of the constituent socialities by the members.

During the spring short courses, the introduction course will be offered. This will be a course to introduce students to the wide variety of learning opportunities available in Sociatecture core and peripheral courses. Students can expect to read utopian writings, anti-utopian writings and some alternative economic, political, educational, health, and architectural realities; engage in utopian dreaming; study existing environments and social processes; build scale models and full-scale mockups; develop collaboration skills and coordinate discrete but supplementary actions (because sociatecture is always participatory in style); and discover low-tech construction methods. It is a fast-moving, playful course, and is meant to serve as an entry (but not a required one) into more intense sociatectural learning processes.

Proposed by Eric Buck

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