Projects and research

The New Normal programme is designed similar to a 3-year think-tank structure. Research and design projects are not individual but rather collaborative endeavors specific to different modules or programme cycles. As such The New Normal is an ongoing effort: each year’s sequence will result in an annual body of work that will, in turn, form part of the three year cycle of distributed, collaborative research between the core faculty and the students.

The final projects emerge as new platforms for urban engagement and governance including applications, simulations, protocols; as worlds glimpsed by partial views and emergent totalities; as models for foresight, mapping, and reaction; as systems for sensing, differentiating, and archiving; and as territories for development, addition, subtraction and mobilization.

See below a selection of our ongoing research during the Year 1 and Year 2 of the programme.


The programme convenes young professionals from Russia and abroad from a wide range of backgrounds — architects, programmers, interaction designers, game designers, artists, philosophers, filmmakers, novelists, economists, free-range computer scientists and others.

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Alexander Geysman



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Alexey Yansitov

Artist, 3D Animator


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Ksenia Trofimova



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Mark Wilcox

Strategist, Project Manager

New Zealand

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Alyona Shapovalova



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Don Toromanoff


Sweden, Canada

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Artem Nikitin



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George Papamattheakis

Architect, Geographer


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Eli Joteva


Bulgaria, USA

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Evgenia Vanyukova

Lawyer, Project Manager


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Anna-Luise Lorenz

Graphic Designer


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Antonia Burchard-Levine

Urban Planner, Consultant

Chile, Spain, Canada

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Hira Zuberi

Architect, Lecturer


Photo of Igor Sladoljev

Igor Sladoljev

Architect, Urban Planner


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Olesia Kovalenko

Architect, Project Manager


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Olga Chernyakova



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Maria Anaskina

Designer, Art Director


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Valdis Siliņš

Foresight Strategist


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Nataliya Tyshkevich



Photo of Grigory Chernomordik

Grigory Chernomordik

Computer Vision Engineer


Photo of Sofia Pia Belenky

Sofia Pia Belenky

Architect, Researcher

USA, Germany

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Nashin Mahtani

Architect, Designer


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Ricardo Saavedra

Designer, Artist


Photo of Nabi Agzamov

Nabi Agzamov

Architect, Urban Designer


Photo of Sveta Gorlatova

Sveta Gorlatova



Photo of Tony Yanick

Tony Yanick

Artist, Programmer, Philosopher


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Glep Papyshev

Researcher, Consultant


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Provides Ng


Hong Kong

Photo of Mariia Fedorova

Mariia Fedorova

Architect, Artist


Public presentations

The objective of broadcasting the Institute’s work through various channels (publications, public presentations and events, project websites and exhibitions) is to add critical new perspectives and facilitate discussions. It is a way to explain what we do and engage with the public audience. Multidisciplinary teams present their projects which take several forms, from cinema to software to strategy, and range from imaginative speculations to practical propositions for intervention. These presentations are broadcasted and promoted online.

Final project reviews 2018

The second year of The New Normal focused on expert feedback and panel discussion about the final projects as initial provocations and proposals for larger ongoing initiatives and collaborations. The invited panel of reviewers at The New Normal 2018 Final Project Review included:

  • Benjamin Bratton, Programme Director and design theorist
  • Etienne Turpin, philosopher, writer and founder of anexact office
  • Anastassia Smirnova, writer, researcher and co-founder of SVESMI
  • Patricia Reed, artist, designer and writer
  • Ben Cerveny, designer and strategist
  • Jennifer Leung, architect and MIT faculty
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Showcase 2017

On July 3-4, 2017, Strelka Institute hosted a big Showcase event in Moscow, a two-evening presentation of the first year of research of our joint design think-tank. See the faculty presentations from the event (project presentations are available above alongside the project descriptions)


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The New Normal Covfefe

Benjamin Bratton

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Scale & System

Benjamin Bratton, Rem Koolhaas and Janna Bystrykh



Liam Young

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Metabolizing complexity

Ben Cerveny

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Medium design

Keller Easterling



Julieta Aranda

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Strelka students about Strelka (summer 2018)

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Programme essays

This is a new series by Strelka Press, one that parallels the Institute’s 2017-2019 programme. The first essays in the series will be written by the Core Faculty of the programme - Benjamin Bratton, Keller Easterling, Daniel van der Velden and Vinca Kruk (Metahaven), Liam Young and Lev Manovich and will be released throughout the year of 2017. Further essays written by invited faculty and experts are to follow in the next two years.

The first essay (Benjamin Bratton: The New Normal) is part manifesto and part syllabus. “It lays out why we would undertake an urban design program with such a strong emphasis on emerging technologies and speculative philosophy; or conversely, why we would convene a think-tank on emerging technology and speculative philosophy that takes urbanism — Russian urbanism, in particular — as its assignment.”

The second essay (Keller Easterling: Medium Design) is a provocation to invert some of our habitual approaches to problem solving, aesthetics and politics with regards to spatial practice. Rather than favoring declarations, right answers, objects or determinations, contemporary designers should learn to detect and manipulate the medium in which they are suspended and in which they change over time. To design medium is to manage the potentials and relationships between objects, the activity immanent in their organization... In other words, the disposition which makes some things possible and some things not.

Digital Tarkovsky essay by Metahaven is an extended poetic exploration of how our experiences of visual entertainment and time itself are changing in the era of the smartphone and near-constant connection. The essay applies the ‘slow’ cinematic art of Andrei Tarkovsky to our interaction with the digital, visual reality of screens and interfaces. Digital Tarkovsky is a way of tracing what cinema, storytelling and time mean in our platform-based world.

In the essay “A.I.Aesthetics”, Lev Manovich offers a systematic framework to help us think about cultural uses of AI today and in the future. He challenges existing ideas and gives us new concepts for understanding media, design, and aesthetics in the AI era.

Cover of SEVER / СЕВЕР
Student presentation at The New Normal Showcase (18:03)


SEVER [SVR] is location-based cryptocurrency whose value increases with the degree of latitude at which it is used. It is conceived as a speculative intervention into the contested territory of the Arctic.

Scientists are unanimous: climate change in the Arctic is irreversible, and the melting of the polar ice cap is now unstoppable. Perhaps the most vivid manifestation of the Anthropocene, this rapid and disruptive transformation is giving birth to a new ocean, across which the globe could be thoroughly rewired. The prospect of an open Arctic draws competing interests to the region: geopolitical tensions are on the rise, while the risk of an environmental disaster lures over the horizon. Opposing this new wave of quiet colonisation, numerous NGOs and rights groups demand that the Arctic be regarded as a sanctuary, and as such be left untouched. Yet, given the scale of change that an open Arctic ocean would bring to the world’s balance of power, such an argument is all too easily dismissed by key geopolitical players and stakeholders; as such, it is ultimately ineffective.

SEVER emerges as a tool to bring about desirable and sustainable Arctic future(s). Its location-sensitive protocol is designed to foster exchange and cooperation across a networked Arctic economy, and to have a positive geo-engineering impact on the regional ecosystem. As a scalable, blockchain-based infrastructure for decentralised exchanges and governance, SEVER would lay the ground for the development of an alternative model of globalisation, first tri-alled in the new Arctic frontier.

Specifically, the project explores the urban consequences of this alternative model of Arctic development through the case study of Murmansk.

  • Team

  • Ildar Iakubov

  • Alexey Platonov

  • Inna Pokazanyeva

  • Francesco Sebregondi