fiction is reality

Programme by Eleni Boutsika-Palles and Matilde Igual

Fiction is reality * Crafting urban narratives

The seminar investigated how fiction affects our relationship to the built environment of the city. Students conducted fieldwork in the 3rd district of Vienna and finally produced own narratives borrowing tools from different disciplines. A guidebook for the third district was collectively produced (see: Social Design Reader #5)

Within this workshop speculations were introduced on the multiple and different ways in which fiction is being used as a method to produce original urban narratives, codes and myths.

Drawing from urban visual culture, art and architecture, as well as tourism and heritage studies participants deciphered the complex urban landscape that derives from current practices and articulated their own views and ideas on how fiction affects our perception of our surroundings through concrete examples.

During the course the group investigated how cities are being reinvented by means of nostalgia and scenographic practices, what new relationships emerge with its users and undertake the role of futurists/storytellers to ...(mis)interpret what a city is and invent new stories about what it should/could be.

Examples were analysed and explained within the workshop not just to better understand them, but with the precise aim to play against them, reinvent them and recreate them by twisting their meaning, scope and purposes.

During the semester, students were asked to discover and study, understand and reinvent a fictional urban narrative of their choice and then communicate it using their medium of choice (drawings, pictures, texts, collages, comic books, videos etc.). The materials were put together and became the base of the course’s output: a publication containing the full story of a fictional urban past and thus future. Within the process essential disciplinary, political, philosophical and cultural positions were reflected upon.

The course’s main goal was to introduce the students to narrative urbanism and the role of fiction in designing and representing cities. Interdisciplinary learning and research strategies, theory and practice, experimentation with different media and materials, writing skills and not least learning to edit a book and care for printed matter were practiced and improved. 

Winter Semester 20/21