Autumn 2023

Counterprojects of Coexistence

Ever since 1962 and Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” we have known of the consequences of human intervention on our natural landscapes and their biological diversities. When NASA’s James Hansen spoke before the American Congress in 1988 society was confronted with the consequences of human intervention on our planet’s climate and it’s degradation. More than half a century of scientific research and knowledge, of physical and ecological change, societal and economic development. And half a century to develop new projects for the territories we are manipulating. As of 2007 the UN estimates over 50% of the world’s population live in urban centers. This year scientists have identified the geological site of the new Anthropocene. We are a new urban human, in a new era, a capitalist culture, of distant extraction and local consumption. A new epoch for which we need new projects, counterprojects.

Standing on the atlas of work built through our previous research work in Geneva and Lausanne we begin our search for counterprojects with our understanding of the possibilities the socio-ecological transition might offer in these new urban territories. Not anthropocentric possibilities but their polycentric counter. Combining science and society, nature and people, social and ecological, we counter existing definitions of how spatial territorial projects develop. Waterscapes, geologies, soilscapes, wastelands, residual spaces and communal projects, all systems of human and non- human coexistence, offer new perspectives, new starting points.

To counter.
A movement,
against the current.
against the tide.
A counter attack.

Not only take up a different position to the “other” but push against it. An action, not a reaction. Counterprojects take up these different positions and push. Against theories, ideologies, boundaries. Ask new questions. New questions of society. New metabolisms, new systems. Create counter spaces. Spaces with new publics, new societies. Projects for a new society of co-existence. We counter by looking not at new natures but existing natures in new ways, through new eyes. In thinking and working across the scales from the individual to the territory, we combine lectures on social sciences, environmental histories and urban ecologies, sessions on systems thinking, material circularities and metabolisms and representation to create the theoretical basis for the counterprojects of our studio.