Issue 18 Introduction

MAS_Context_Improbable_cover

© Stéphane Massa-Bidal

 

Unlikely, but Possible.

Issue statement by Iker Gil and Paul Mougey, editor in chief and editor of MAS Context respectively.

 

Impossible simply means something can’t happen, doesn’t exist, and won’t ever occur. Yet improbable opens the door a crack. It means something is unlikely to come into being. Unlikely to be seen, built or felt because of the sheer scale of the challenge, or the ruthlessness of opposition or the seeming impossibility. The difficulty and risk often means the improbable evades us.

But the door left open a crack means we can peek in. At ambitious projects by architects who were ahead of their time and context. Remarkable plans to host an International Exposition. Complex communication networks that sustain and supersede the value our cities, both past and future. Engineering marvels and domestic objects that envision a brazen future. Future scenarios built atop existing architectural masterpieces. Streets frozen in time in a political and administrative limbo. Imaginary narratives of cities that might be real. Existing cities with issues that are way too real.

This issue pushes open the door onto a series of contributions that look to our past, present and future. And it’s improbability. Some discuss a series of efforts, desires, and ambitions that either individuals or groups have proposed in the past that are for the most part unrealized, and sometimes little known, but they still carry valuable lessons for our present and future. Others look at the present, one that is at a crossroad between a (presumably) better past and a challenging future. They provide a snapshot of how we face uncertainty and evaluate the obstacles of possibility. They all present scenarios, even “hallucinatory joyrides,” into what we can expect to come into being, or not, in the future.

In the end, this look to the past, present and future aims to be a constructive kick in the what if? To discuss important precedents that might be overlooked, and to speculate on conceivable futures. All of them ideas to help each one of us construct a future that has yet to be defined. And deemed impossible.

 

Acknowledgements

Improbable has had invaluable help from: Martin Abbott, Luís Santiago Baptista, Ethel Baraona Pohl, Andrew Clark, André Corrêa, Ali Fard, Jordan Geiger, Renata Graw, Chris Grimley, Evangelina Guerra Luján, Sparkle Hayter, Lisa Hirmer, Tom James, Elina Karanastasi, David Karle, Michael Kubo, Stéphane Massa-Bidal, Julie Michiels, Paul Mougey, Eva Papamargariti, Mark Pasnik, Mike Peart, Vassiliki Maria Plavou, Mark Scott, Theo Simpson, Nikos Skoutelis, and Alexander Trevi.

MAS Context is partially supported by a grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

 

Iker Gil is an architect, urban designer, and director of MAS Studio. In addition, he is the editor in chief of MAS Context. He is the recipient of the 2010 Emerging Visions Award from the Chicago Architectural Club.
www.mas-studio.com | @MASContext

Paul Mougey is a brand and strategy storyteller. He’s currently at work on his first novel.

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