Possible realities by visionary duo called ”City Maybe”

CityMaybe is a collection of utopian/dystopian visions that come from the future in the form of postcards.

In 1979 , German philosopher Hans Jonas published the essay “The imperative of responsibility”.

A book that rethinks the foundations of ethics in light of the awesome transformations wrought by modern technology: the threat of nuclear war, ecological ravage, genetic engineering, and the like. Though informed by a deep reverence for human life, Jonas’s ethics is grounded not in religion but in metaphysics, in a secular doctrine that makes explicit man’s duties toward himself, his posterity, and the environment. Jonas offers an assessment of practical goals under present circumstances, ending with a critique of modern utopianism.

“Act so that the effects of your action are compatible with the permanence of a genuine human life “.

Last year (2020) humanity, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, began to approach life and the way of living our reality in a more sustainable way.

Covid-19 has forced our society to look at the state of our planet, to stop the pace achieved in recent years with the development of consumerism, a means of communication without awareness, which led the planet earth to an increase in pollution to levels never before seen.

Have you ever imagined what our cities could be like in 10, 20.50 years?

The Instagram account called City Maybe did it.

With a fresh and ironic vision, they imagined Urban farms on the rooftop of a skyscraper in New York or a Covid-19 free New Year’s Eve on Mars

Editor – Hi Umberto !Hi Antonio!Congratulations for your Visionary project!

CityMaybe – Hello!First of all thanks again for your interest. We are also excited and happy for taking part to your brand new magazine.

Editor – First question:When you decided to start this project and why?

CityMaybe –  Our project started in april 2020 during the first pandemic lockdown. The project, in particular, began as a reaction to the hopeless historical moment we were living at that time. The fear provoked by the global spread of COVID-19 and the new life imprisonment gave us, indeed, a valuable time to  reflect and awaken our main interest:  imagining possible future scenarios, filtered by our critical look of the world.

Editor – Can you talk about your project?

CItyMaybe –  It’s a personal collection of utopian/dystopian visions that come from the future in the form of postcards. Each vision aims to show an extreme but  dramatically possible future scenario, which starts from the reading of a contemporary topic and which is then carried to its extreme becoming an utopia or a dystopia. The visions proposed by CityMaybe are intended as imaginary landscapes able to open up discussions and critical reflections on our living habits and choices. Are we behaving well? What could happen to the world if we keep on behaving in this way?

 Editor – What’s your story? Where are you from?

CityMaybe – We are Antonio and Umberto, two young architects from Milan and Turin, today both working in our hometowns but after many years of international experiences abroad. Our passion for social-urbanism and architecture together with a common curiosity in discovering different cultures, brought us together in several research projects: we started during the first years of university with the opening of “Archescape”, a blog intended as a tool to share our experiences, trips and architectural discoveries; and after some other competitions and research projects together we finally decided to start with CityMaybe.

Editor – Who and/or what inspires your work?

CityMaybe – Every vision we have made is different from the other. We don’t think we got inspired by something specific and grounded in time, but we always ideate our visions starting from our interests and reflections, which are surely influenced by our academic and professional experiences and by the mindset we have developed over time. However we can say that the real inspirational protagonists of our work are the newspaper articles, which are selected and cut before launching a vision which starts from a specific topic. We have designed our images as “utopical” and “dystopical” as they could be idealistic or more cynical, but there are also those who define them “sarcastical”. Surely another relevant source of inspiration are the popular visions produced by the Radical Architectural movements of the 70’s. We would like to say that our intention is different from their own and we are not interested in seeking a confrontation. We are talking about two very different approaches, if we look at the aims and the process, but at the same time we share some relevant concepts with those great 70’s visions: the ideological role of representation and the “social mission” of architecture.

Editor – May we live in interesting times: Covid-19 forced us to think life in a new way, rethink life after what we thought to be the future. In what direction, in your opinion, the new way of being of people should move?

CityMaybe – We believe that humanity will try to get out from this difficult situation as fast as possible, even trying to get around the problem without being properly conscious of the consequences. An emblematic vision is “Hologram City”, a dystopian scenario in which people gather in the central squares of Bologna using their holograms projected by flying drones, but in fact they are alone in their rooms.We are living in a world defined as anthropocentric. A world which is based on the idea that “speed is the dominant ideology” (as written in the manifesto of Slow-Food, 1987), according to which people are used to have everything and immediately. This is probably one of the mistakes of humanity and also something from which we can start again: we should start again with the re-discovery of the values of social relationships, remembering that they need to be cultivated over time, learning to give value to the wait and to respect the community rules.

Editor – What does it mean for you to be heroes especially when our society teaches us to be just super heroes?

CityMaybe – Superheroes are symbolic and fictional characters who are responsible for protecting humanity from criminality and natural catastrophes. They are relevant characters both for kids and adults for developing a critical sense and for escaping in different worlds, leaving space for creativity. Superheroes can be always important in moments of weakness but we think that most of the people nowadays need to have as reference simply heroes, intended as “people endowed with strong values and an outstanding sense of  courage who are admired by everybody”. In particular we think that the heroes we need should not necessarily embody an ideal of perfection. On the contrary, the insecurity and our defects are part of human beings and thus our contemporary heroes should not have any particular superpower, other than standing out and fighting for a common good.

Editor – Visions as variables of our reality: your images seem real visions of the future and many of the proposed projects could  have a high degree of realization.What shouldn’t be done to keep some of these visions from becoming a reality?

CityMaybe – The visions we imagine are radical as they show an extreme version of reality but at the same time they have in many cases a high degree of realization. In the previous century many people have only thought about the present, without thinking how their actions could  have worsened the future of the next generations. Our visions simply add question marks to present-day actual problems with the aim of making people reflect on the impact of their actions on the future. We believe that problems as global warming, environmental pollution and social-economic polarisation could be better addressed if there was more awareness. Being informed and sensitive to the problems of the world could help us to behave with a sense of collectivity, respecting the planet and the others.