Liam Young, 23 01 14
Keep reading for the full list of speakers (more…)
Keep reading for the full list of speakers (more…)
For the March 2013 issue of the Architectural Review Liam Young has written a review of ScanLab’s ‘Frozen Relics’ exhibition in London. On display is a laser scan of Arne’s Floe, an iceberg that once existed at 17:01:07hrs on the 16 September at 79 22.558 N, 003 04.611 W on the Arctic Ocean. It has since been torn apart by undersea currents and dissolved by a warming climate but in a time when everything is digitized nothing really has to disappear. An excerpt follows but you can see the full article behind a paywall here.
Frozen Relics is an exhibition full of artifacts like this that no longer exist. They are drifting across a data landscape in which we can still see every minute crack, every ragged edge, every blemish and fissure. They are high resolution laser scans generated on site in the Fram Strait northwest of Svalbard by ScanLAB, Greenpeace and the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at Cambridge University. The memories of these seasonal islands have been frozen in a ghostly coordinate cloud of XYZ and RGB values.
We are presented with the possibilities of an extraordinarily accurate digital doppelganger, a 1:1 avatar of our world, A curated collection of replica landscapes wrought from the tool paths of herds of CNC machines, 3d printed layer by layer, a carved duplicate at extreme resolution, a theme park of synthetic copies, and like plastic tits on an ageing celebrity, timeless, as everything around them continues to decay.
Our digital lives are accumulating in endless fields of super cooled server farms, containing tweets, check ins, instagrams, porn banks, pokes and now a menagerie of floating ice bergs. In sprawling warehouses browser searches sit beside glaciers, emails beside Mayan temples. Server Farms are something between filing cabinets and cathedrals. If they are the new repositories of all knowledge and ephemera then how is the data stored, how do we access it, and is anything ever forgotten. Can some data be designed to decay, could pixels erode with time, like a portrait of Dorian Gray, slowly ageing with our sins?
What we choose to remember, what we chose to keep, defines who we are. The permanence of a point cloud iceberg, drifting endlessly in a digital sea, is an eternal reminder of how much we have to loose.
KERB 20 is out now and features new projects by Liam Young of Tomorrows Thoughts Today and his nomadic design Studio the Unknown Fields Division. Other contributers include Factory Fifteen, Philip Beesely, Future Cities Lab, Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLG) and many more. You can purchase your copy here http://www.melbournebooks.com.au/kerb-20.html. Kerb Edition 20 examines ways in which speculative narrative discourse can be applied to landscape architecture. Through exploring Fabricated foundations, Fossilisation of information, and Contemporary unfoldings, we can navigate new horizons for the narratives of landscape architecture that propel beyond responsive tracings, and position new navigations; forms of resistance to the existing knowledge. It is through this view in landscape architecture that exploration is facilitated of both new possibilities and of their implications.
Join Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young and Liquid Factory’s Kate Davies and their nomadic design group Unknown Fields Division as they take up temporary residence at Headlands Centre for the Arts, an ex military base just across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Employing contemporary surveillance technology to map the post-militarized Marin Headlands, the group will hack the landscape to imagine extraordinary futures.
Collaborators assembled from the worlds of art, architecture, and technology will guide sorties across diverse local terrains. Laser-scan forests using hi-res, long range optics; deploy infrared night vision cameras to peer through the mist; and build a fleet of drones to map from above. In these shifting fields of nature and artifice, participants will re-examine preservationist attitudes toward the natural world, the ecologically fragile, and the technologically obsolete.
Joining us will be collaborators including ScanLab, Geoff Manuagh, Nicola Twilley and many more. The program runs from September 7-September 12, 2012. The deadline for applications is July 17th. See the website for more details.
TTT’s Liam Young will be speaking at the 2011 Art and Environments Conference at the Nevada Museum of Art. He will be a part of the panel ‘Designing Architecture for environmental change’ with Geoff Manaugh (BLDGBLOG), David Benjamin (The Living), Mark Smout (SmoutAllen) and moderated by Bruce Sterling. The panel brings together contributors from the acompanying exhibition curated by Geoff manaugh titled ‘Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices and Architectural Inventions.’ Other speakers at the conference include Edward Burtynsky, DJ Spooky, Leo Villareal and Fritz Haeg. (more…)
Liam Young will be speaking in New York on Sept 1st for Studio-X’s Landscape Futures Night School. Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley have taken over as co-coordinators of the Studio and have just announced the first few events of what is sure to be an expansive new program. First up on the 1st Sept at 12.30pm will be a live public interview with Deborah Estrin, director of the Center for Embedded Network Sensing at UCLA and to follow will be the first of their Night School formats begining at 6pm. As Geoff outlines “Following Liam’s presentation of his work, I’ll be engaging with him in a public conversation, whiteboard brainstorm, and armchair journey around the world, exploring fieldwork as a form of research, the role of the sketchbook, the importance of narrative in architectural design, and the architect as investigative traveler. Expect to hear about everything from Australian kangaroo culls and the control of invasive species to conflict metals, the open-pit gold mine as designed landscapes, and the difficulties of piloting a boat up the Congo.” You must RSVP if you would like to attend: studioxnyc AT gmail DOT com.
This year, on the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s first manned space flight and the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we will pack our Geiger counters and space Suits and chart a course from the atomic to the cosmic to investigate the strange natures that stretch from the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor in the Ukraine and Gagarin’s launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Before we leave on our research trip we will be joined in London by an ensemble of artists, authors, scientists and designers to present a series of projects and thoughts motivated by the sites we will be visiting. Through the lens of these 2 events we will re-examine our contemporary attitudes toward the natural world and discuss our cross section through the haunting landscapes of the ecologically fragile and the technologically obsolete. We will explore the ‘Unknown Fields’ between cultivation and nature, between utopian projections and dystopian ruins as we spin cautionary tales of a new kind of wilderness.
“To be the first to enter the cosmos, to engage, single-handed, in an unprecedented duel with nature-could one dream of anything more!”
T H E A T O M I C
MICHAEL MADSEN [FILM MAKER]
Film maker Michael Madsen will be traveling with the Unknown Fields Division on our Chenobyl to Baikonur project. Michael is the Director of the recent documentary Into Eternity. The film tells the story of the Onkolo Nuclear Waste Repository in Finland, a facility that must remain intact for 100,000 years even though no structure in human history has even stood for such a long period of time. The film addresses an audience in the remote future and questions Onkolo’s eternal existence and its legacy as a reminder of this toxic energy source.
MARIO PETRUCCI [POET]
Originally a Natural Sciences graduate with a PhD in optoelectronics, Mario Petrucci works as a freelance creative writing tutor, broadcaster and educator. Mario has publishes a book length poem on the Chernobyl didaster titled Heavy Water. Petrucci takes up the challenge confronting society in every age: to attempt the difficult task of exploring its most terrible events. His poem unites the concerns of artist, humanitarian and historian at a common source: the desire not to forget. Heavy Water stands to remind us that those who have been exposed to the invisible should never become so.
CORNELIA HESSE HONEGGER [SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATOR]
Cornelia Hesse Honegger is a scientific illustrator and science artist. For 25 years she worked as a scientific illustrator for the scientific department of the Natural History Museum at the University of Zurich. Her watercolors are exhibited internationally at museums and galleries. Her work is an interface between art and science; it plays witness to a beautiful but endangered nature. Since the catastrophe of Chernobyl in 1986, she has collected, studied and painted morphologically disturbed insects, which she finds in the fallout areas of Chernobyl as well as near nuclear installations.
PETER WYNN KIRBY [ENVIRONMENTAL ANTHROPOLOGIST]
Peter Wynn Kirby is an ‘environmental anthropologist’ and researcher with the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford. His latest book is “Troubled Natures: Waste, Environment, Japan.“ In it he considers experiences of nuclear risk and national/cultural constructions of energy, power, pollution, and waste in Japan and in France – the two major nations that depend most on nuclear power, yet where the risks and benefits of nuclear power play out over vastly different sociocultural topographies.
WILL WILES [AUTHOR/JOURNALIST]
Will WIles is deputy editor of the architecture and design journal Icon and has recently completed his debut novel ‘Care of Wooden Floors’ a black comedy about a man being driven insane by minimalist interior decoration. Through the Unknown Fields project Will’s is developing a new book titled ‘Toxic Tourism’ which be published by Haperpress in mid 2012
OLIVIER GOODHALL [Designer]
Oliver’s background, interests and practice is in architecture. He holds a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art in Design Interactions, having previously graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2005, and co-founded the architecture practice We Made That. He is interested in developing projects that expand engagement between strategic thinking and creative practice in the public realm. His express intent is to be logically utopian and playfully analytical; project outcomes may be informative, revealing, outlandish – or hopefully all of these. Recent projects include the provocative ‘Nuclear is Good. What will it take to convince you?’, a series of speculative urban newspapers commissioned by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, a collaboration with UCL Urban Laboratory’s Creative City Limits programme, and an upcoming project on synthetic gemology due to be published this autumn.
PHILIPS DESIGN PROBES [TECHNOLOGY DESIGNERS]
Philips Design Probes is a dedicated ‘far-future’ research initiative to track trends and developments across the realms of politics, economics, culture, environments and technology.With the aim of understanding ‘lifestyle’ post 2020, the program aims to identify probable systemic shifts and challenges conventional ways of thinking about technology to come up with concepts, products and narratives to stimulate debate. Phillips is a primary project sponsor and has provided a number of scholarships for emerging artists to join the Unknown Fields Chernobyl to Baikonur Cosmodrome studio.
T H E C O S M I C
ALICIA FRAMIS [ARTIST]
Director of Moon Life Foundation, Alicia Framis speculates on the possibility that humans will live in space in the future. The project acts as a stimulus for artists, designers, architects to create futuristic radical political but humane concepts for an extreme lunar environment. Alicia Framis is also exploring the potentialities of living on the moon through the ironical activities and fictional character of a woman astronaut. Left on earth like all women who were never part of the moon race, she settles in to BaseCamp, in which she lived for the two weeks in a customized astronaut suit, among drawings and prototypes that aim to both parody and demand women’s presence on the moon.
REGINA PLEDSZUS [SPACE HUMAN FACTORS DESIGNER]
Regina’s research investigates the emotional and environmental implications of manned spaceflight and particularly the psychological challenges of isolation and monotony for crew during extended exploration missions to Mars or Near Earth Asteroids. Her research has developed into conceptual and applied input into the habitability design aspects of ground-based mission simulations like the Mars 500 experiment and the generation of mission ideas with the European Space Agency’s Advanced Concepts Team. Recently Regina has recently been based in the Stanley Kubrick archive exploring speculative design in science fiction and the real-world applicability of sci-fi film sets as scenarios for psychological habitability.
PAUL DUFFIELD [COMIC CREATOR/ILLUSTRATOR]
Paul Duffield is a comic book creator, animator and illustrator. He collaborates wit hauthor Warren Ellis on the webcomic Freakangels and the visual poem ‘Signal’. Signal is an experiment in visual storytelling that attempts to use comicbook visual language to explore the the theme of the human search for knowledge and other life, inspired by SETI, and Carl Sagan’s series Cosmos. After countless decades scanning the skies, listening to the beep beep beep from alien worlds there is just one man left in the SETI institute, still waiting…
LOUISE K WILSON [SOUND ARTIST]
Louise K Wilson is a visual artist who makes installations, live works, sound works and single channel videos. Her current research uses the medium of sound to ask philosophical and material questions about the spatio-temporal physicality of certain sites and our perceptions of them. She has travelled to numerous military and scientific sites including the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training facility, nuclear submarines, US listening stations, university halls, rocket launch sites and disused RAF bases in pursuit of the acoustics of resonant spaces. She has explored the ways in which technologies of the audible create new ways of engaging with the lost traces of institutional places.
NELLY BEN HAYOUN [EXPERIENCE DESIGNER]
Nelly Ben Hayoun has designed experiences for you to become an astronaut in the living room, generating dark energy from pigeons’ eggs in the kitchen and colliding atoms in the bathroom. She is interested in how we can use design and science in our everyday lives to make them more thrilling, creative and passionate.. Often science seems to be reserved for scientists – expert practitioners who alone have the privilege of experiencing the fringes of human knowledge and the extremes of nature. Her work aims to combat this aspect of science, by enlisting willing scientists in experiences that mix the creativity with technology, science with fiction, factual with artistic and amateur with expert.
MARK PILKINGTON [UFO FOLKLORIST]
Mark Pilkington is a writer, publisher, curator and musician with particular interest in the fringes of knowledge, culture and belief. On a journey through the badlands and backwaters of America, Mark Pilkington uncovered a 60 year-old story stranger than any conspiracy thriller. Through the fascinating account of his travels Pilkington reveals the long history of UFOria and its origins in the murky worlds of espionage, psychological warfare and UFO hunters, Pilkington soon discovers that the truth about flying saucers is stranger and more complex than either the ufologists or debunkers would have us believe: instead of covering-up stories of crashed spacecraft, alien contacts and secret underground bases, the US intelligence agencies
THE UNKNOWN FIELDS DIVISION IS SUPPORTED BY
ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION [VISITING SCHOOL PROGRAMME]
PHILIPS DESIGN PROBES [TECHNOLOGY DESIGNERS]
KUMUKA WORLDWIDE [ADVENTURE TRAVEL CONSULTANTS]
UKRAINE INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES [PROJECT CARRIER]
VOLUME [RESEARCH LAB]
NEASDEN CONTROL CENTRE [GRAPHIC ARTIST]
The smaller travelling version of ‘The Imaginarium: A Theatre For Constructed Ecologies’ has been reviewed by Arbitare Magazine. You can see the full exhibition from its Berlin opening in the Fast thoughts column. The Imaginarium is co-curated by Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today and Studio Lukas Feireiss with design by Luis Berrios-Negron. The exhibition brings together a group of architects, artists and scientists including TTT’s Liam Young, Francois Roche/R&Sie(n), Greg Lynn, Philip Beesley, Rachel Armstrong, Theo Jansen, Terunobu Fujimori, Triptyque Architecture, Ilkka Halso, Lucy McRae, Cero9, Mas Yendo, and many more to engage the prescient subject of ecological change and adaptations caused by artificial interventions into existing ecosystems.
The Imaginarium is curated as an unnatural history museum of archaeological fragments, botanical samples, exhibits, evidence and curiosities. Archived in the accompanying Catalogue of Speculative Specimens we see a jump in the fossil record, an evolutionary leap, as the interbreeding of biology and technology has given birth to a strange new nature.
Liam Young of TTT has a new project apprearing in the landscapes journal KERB issue 19 Paradigms of Nature: Post Natural Futures published by RMIT in Melbourne, Australia. Other contributors include TTT pals R&Sie, Dr. Rachel Armstrong, Daisy Ginsberg and Sacha Pohflepp, David Gissen et al. Have a look through the full list of contributors here. It should be an interesting issue. Go buy one.
Last month Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young was invited to be a part of BLDGBLOG’s Landscape Futures Super Workshop in LA. Foreshadowing further collaborations the event brought together the protagonists in Geoff Manuagh’s upcoming exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art titled Landscape Futures: Instruments, Devices, and Architectural Inventions. Through the Super Workshop the typically insulated curatorial process has been exploded into an organised series of landscape reconnaissance expeditions, recorded conversations, lectures and student presentations. The workshop and its themes have been explored in two interesting articles here in Domus and Wired magazine and feature illustrations by Liam Young and Tomorrows Thoughts Today.