Aušra Česnauskytė and Goda Verikaitė of Neo-futuristic Walks share their journey and the inspiration they find walking in a new city.
How would you describe your profession and your practice?
We are Neo-futuristic Walks (Aušra Česnauskytė and Goda Verikaitė), spatial designers and speculative storytellers
Has your work changed over the course of your career?
We started our collective practice in 2020, and since then, it has been growing and transforming every year.
In the first year, we developed our project as an alternative education form where we worked together with students from two cities – Vilnius and London. The process evolved into two performative events in both locations.
Later on, we organized multiple walkshops in various design festivals and symposiums. Since 2022, we have been focusing more on climate emergencies and bringing ideas about degrowth into our stories.
In our third year, we invited four artists and researchers to join our project and together create walks in four different cities that are at risk of flooding. It allowed us to broaden our circle of neo-futurists and exchange artistic methods and specific city knowledge with each other.
What was your “eureka!” moment that made you realize that art/design was the route you wanted to take?
Since we both started our education in architecture/design straight after high school, our initial perception of the profession was quite naive and idealistic.
Aušra: The real “becoming an architect” path, which I started within the technical university and internships, was more frustrating than enlightening…I think I experienced my first “eureka” moment only when I entered the academy of arts, and got my first assignment: to design my workplace without using a chair and a table.
Goda: I do not think I had one single ‘‘eureka’’ moment but my understanding of architecture and design gradually changed during my graduate studies. There I had a chance to meet different mentors as well as fellow students from the architecture field who, to my surprise, were doing very “un-architectural” things like making movies, performances, writing manifestos, building strange sculptural objects, and talking about political utopias.
Is your work inspired by anything in particular? What turns you on creatively?
We get inspired each time we walk in a new city. We are especially excited to explore various cities’ imperfections, accidents and glitches, which often become the source of inspiration for our stories. By researching them, we try to uncover the authentic qualities of the urban environments, which are often concealed by neoliberal aesthetics and shiny solutions.
Which designers or artists inspire you and why?
Our collective practice is inspired by such avant-garde movements as Superstudio, Fluxus, and Situationists International. All of these practices sparked new relationships with(in) the urban environments and questioned the status quo in imaginative, poetic, but also ludic ways. From the more recent practices, we sympathize with the Stalker movement and Urbonas Studio projects and admire their experimental spirit.
What is the name of your 2024 DesignTO Festival event and what can attendees expect to experience?
We will be part of the ‘DesignTO Talks: Dematerialized’ symposium and will be speaking about the Neo-futuristic Walks practice.
How long have you been involved with DesignTO? Why is DesignTO important to the creative community, here and abroad?
We are participating in the DesignTO Festival for the first time, but we expect to meet like-minded creatives with whom we could possibly collaborate in the future.
The topic of this event, dematerialization, is also extremely relevant to designers from all over the world. It is not only inviting us to take a closer look at our relationship with digital content, but also to search for unconventional immaterial ways to deal with the modern world’s urgencies.
Lastly, what random fact about yourself would you like to share with the DesignTO community?
A couple of random facts from the Neo-futurists’ manifesto:
We, neo-futurists, do not talk much. We use a secret language to communicate with each other.
If you see us, neo-futurists, walking fast, we are meditating. Just let us walk… The other times, when our pace is slow, we love to be interrupted.
We, neo-futurists, do not count time. We count only useless things for unknown purposes.
DesignTO’s ninth annual symposium ‘DesignTO Talks: Dematerialized’ brings together eight multidisciplinary experts to explore the complexities of dematerialization in an increasingly digital world.
Speakers include Lynne Heller, Austin Houldsworth, Alex Yueyan Li, Neo-Futuristic Walks, Joel Ong, Justin Kyung In Park, Skawennati, and Ruby Thelot