SpeculativeEdu

Disco school: Reimagining the future of Murska Sobota

September 2, 2021

A semi-fictional town plan collaboratively produced by renowned creatives and the children from Murska Sobota, showcasing their shared vision of the city’s future.

Have you ever wondered what the future of our cities would look like if children were in charge? A playful and colourful exhibition is set to open in Murska Sobota, that will inspire visitors, big and small, to reflect on new alternative futures of their city.

Exhibition opening: 11 September 2021

Disco School is a project made to inspire and engage the local community of Murska Sobota, a city that has been losing its industrial and economical identity, to move away from a nostalgic past and turn to a new vision of the future. 

Renowned international and local creatives, musicians, and designers came together with local children in search of new perspectives to think about a new form of the town’s plan, using speculative design practices as a participatory tool for local engagement and education. 

Speculative design is a discursive practice, based on critical thinking and dialogue, which asks questions about the future while offering alternatives that help us understand the world today. The project provides inclusive platforms to mediate community engagement with local government in the re-imagining of their town’s future.

The Process

The goal of this project was to inspire the local community to share their dreams and ambitions and play with the idea of what they would do if they were in charge of the urban planning of the city. By including 98 children in the process, activating their imagination and curiosity, we wanted to encourage their interest in community life, and establish a link between city decision-makers and those whose voices are often considered to be unimportant. 

RESEARCH

In the first phase of the project, the authors of the concept focused on exploring the context in which they are located. The research included interviews with the citizens, and mapping the city and locations that were recognized as important places of social encounters. Followed by a discussion with pupils of Elementary School III in Murska Sobota about the idea of what the city would look like if they were running it. 

ARTWORKS

Inspired by the discussion about their city and under the guidance of teacher Mihaela Ružič, pupils of Elementary School III in Murska Sobota began working on various artworks centered around their hometown. A total of 21 poems were written about Murska Sobota, a city maquette was made with over 50 pieces of ceramics and over 10 linocut prints of the most striking buildings in the city designed by the famous architect Franc Novak.

SKETCHES & OBJECTS

During a three-day workshop led by designers Jimmy LoizeauMatt Ward, and Sara Božanić, children combined storytelling, line drawing, and collages to develop ideas about a new shared vision of the future of Murska Sobota. A collection of stories, images, sketches, and plans were produced and then turned into 3D structures and models to help design the alternative city town plan.

MUSIC

Two songs were produced using four of the poems written by pupils, and made into some kind of anthems of the future Murska Sobota, with the help of renowned local musicians kleemar and Big Pappa. Music has always played a big role in the community, both as a generator of social and political change, but also by shaping one’s sense of belonging and identity. The songs were recorded in a music studio with the children and then pressed into a vinyl entitled Vö Fajna!.

The Exhibition

A space where local ideas about the town’s future are discussed in new and different ways

The exhibition in September will bring all this work together and display it on a ‘landscape’ for Murska Sobota, to inspire the local community to reimagine their city by asking critical questions about the future and thinking about new alternative directions, while considering the perspectives of a crucial part of the community – our children.

Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the universe of a different Murska Sobota featuring big toboggans as the main mode of public transport, sports fields particularly designed for a hybrid discipline combining skate and tennis, a house of illusions, a puppy rescue shelter, a technology park with phone-growing trees, custom made candy souvenirs, and much more.

The official exhibition opening will be held on Saturday, September 11, at 10 a.m. at Park Theatre (Gledališče Park), where a short film created during the preparations will be screened. After that, at 11 p.m. we will move to MIKK Gallery where visitors will be able to see the exhibition, where it will be open to the public until 22 September.

In October, the new town plan will move to a group exhibition entitled “My neighbourhood, my city”, held at the church of Saint-Pierrein Firminy, France.

Exhibition Artists

Concept artists: Jimmy Loizeau, Matt Ward, Mihaela Ružič, Sara Božanić

Artwork artists: Dunja Ana Colombo, Neli Čep, Lucian Dujanovič, Gaja Krčmar, Tija Murgelj, Lara Copot, Aneja Gomboc, Betina Pucko, Urša Šlibar, Ana Žvokelj, Zarja Garcia, Hana Marinič, Taja Horvat, Žana Martinec, Marsel Meleš, Tine Šalamon, Mia Topovšek, Nina Bohnec, Maj Balažic, Katja Egić, Lučka Gostenčnik, Lan Graabar, Žiga Grah, Gaja Horvat, Kiara Horvat, Tjaša Horvat, Vanja Horvat, Lana Tia Kuhar, Žan Luk, Luka Pojbič, Lan Šalamun, Alina Šarkezi, Julija Šinko, Samanta Šipoš, Luka Škaper – Meško, Alex Vukan, Mai Borovič, Bor Patrik Burjan, Maruša Durič, Jure Garcia, Luka Valentin Grabar, Iztok Kikec, Kiara Kolbl, Luna Kuhar, Neža Küplen, Vid Mlinarič, Neli Režonja, Zoja Šantavec, Lara Šebjan, Aleksander Škafar, Keanu Švenda, Kim Kuzmič, Enei Lucu, Tian Mesarič, Ajda Oček, Katarina Petrović,  Lado Ratkai, Mia Topovšek, Kio Červek, Lina Felkar, Lem Forjanič, Erik Gomboc, Tajda Gostenčnik, Jaša Grčar, Val Hajdenkumer, Filip Horvat Mohar,  Aljaž Kokol Povh, Izabela Zala Kranfogel, Jure Kumin, Matic Kranfogel, Jakob Cigüt, Maruša Durič, Blaž Tobias, Dej Duričić, Eva Kuronja, Aleks Horvat, Luka Mesarič, Maša Kos, Matic Brunec, Tine Šalamon, Alex Gutalj, Naja Gjerek, Taja Marič, Urška Obal, Zana Zrim, Tia Lülik, Lara Kuzmič, Eva Kumin, Eva Marija Fičer, Dina Ismajlović, Hana Ismajlović, Zara Sabotin, Ula Sabotin, Miha Šebjan, Vasja Pertoci, Taras Kikec, Katjuša Pertoci

Exhibition design: Jimmy Loizeau, Matt Ward, Sara Božanić, Mihaela Ružič, Žan Bedinek, Ana Nicol Ropoša, Mateja Filipović-Sandalj, Tomaž Županec, Petar Božanić, Oleg Šuran, Sebastijan Škraban

Composing: Matej Končan aka kleemar, Big Pappa, Izabela Zala Kranfogel, Maruša Durič, Matic Kranfogel, Jakob Cigüt

Media Design: Oleg Šuran

Content Design: Mateja Filipović-Sandalj

Supervision: Vida Lukač, Matej Fišer, Sonja Čerpnjak, Daniel Ulčar, Boris Bodanec, Maja Lačen Škrbič, Ivica Mitrović, Janez Balažic

Co-production: The event is organized by the Institute of Transmedia Design Murska Sobota, with the support of the Center for Creativity, MIKK – Youth and Cultural Club Murska Sobota, the Municipality of Murska Sobota, Elementary School III, the Institute for Culture, Tourism and Sport Murska Sobota, the Municipality of Ljubljana, Academia Maribor, Arts Academy Split and Goldsmiths, University of London, as part of the international project SpeculativeEdu.

The Disco School  educational project is co-produced with the Center for Creativity at MAO and is part of the Platform Center for Creativity’s partner network, it is co-financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund and the Republic of Slovenia, by City Municipality Ljubljana and by City Municipality Murska Sobota.

The honorary patron of the project is City Municipality Murska Sobota.