The Laboratory – Foresight

Friday 6 – Saturday 14 September 2019

The Laboratory is a cross-disciplinary initiative that brings together architects, artists, designers and researchers to speculate about our life in the future through an exploration of our social, cultural, spatial and technological present. It is based at the Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design, one of the oldest and biggest art schools in Germany sited adjacent to the reknown Weissenhof Estate, an ambitious prototype for future ways of living and experimental showcase. What could our everyday life look like in 2035?

The Laboratory uses collective forms of teaching and learning. Last year, we worked with a trend analyst, a nano researcher, an industrial designer, an entertainment designer and an architect to develop visions of our everyday life in tomorrow’s world. For Foresight, we will work with the AA’s Head of Photography, fine art photographer Sue Barr, and architectural writer Rosa Ainsley to capture glimpses of our life in the near future through the medium of image and text.

Technical input will include methods of observing and researching, digital photography, image production and manipulation as well as creative and structured writing. The result of the workshop will be documented in a publication and shown in an exhibition.

A public programme of lectures and a series of visits to unknown and unseen places will give participants the opportunity to experience the city from an unusual perspective.


In a time when the line between fact and fiction is constantly blurred, photography and writing can play vital roles, as both separate and conjoined forms. In Foresight we explore the potentials of the photographic and the textual to predict/depict the (near) future within architecture, whose focus on the future is part of its process, evident from concept to completionto reuse/s.

With knowledge gained from site visits, archives and exhibitions, and from visual and textual documentation, ForeSight asks where it takes you, in photography and writing. How does architecture – whether on the screen, the print, the page or in your imaginative response to these – fuel the narrative of the near future? Foresight investigates the gap between the decisive moment and the staged image, while experimenting with ways of creating stories with writing architecture. It asks whether the architecture is the main character in the story; where it takes you as writer and as reader, what it provides more than location and context and how it might drive the plot?

The idea exists of photography as a witness of a Moment in history that occurred in front of the lens, as a recording of the thing that happened: the ‘Decisive moment’. This reality/objective truth is constantly being tested. Even in the era of classical analog photography, Andre Kertész was directing his photographs: in ‘Meudon’, a steam train passes over the bridge, while below, man with hat was instructed to cross the frame.

As Gary Winogrand puts it: ‘If I saw something familiar in my viewfinder, I do something to shake it up.’ In Foresight we explore the interaction of the strange and the familiar, the construction of every detail of the photographicimage, of the written or spoken text to convey images of the future.

Prominent Features of the workshop/ skills developed

Skills developed

  • – Understanding of current developments, socially, culturally, spatially and technologically and their  possible impact onto our shared future
  • – Understanding of the limits and possibilities of architecture in this context
  • – Development of an awareness of the culture and politics of images
  • – Development of observational skills and sensitivities
  • – Development of the ability to construct a narrative through images and written text

Technical Input

  • – Introduction to methods of fast paced and structured research
  • – Introduction to digital fine art photography, image production, manipulation and reception, technically and culturally
  • – Introduction to creative writing and narrative building

Prominent Features

  • – Working and communicating with experts from other fields
  • – Guest lecturers and critics from different disciplinary fields
  • – Programme of visits
  • – Production of a book and an exhibition