dystopia


Liam Young, 19 10 14


Opening on October 4th at Z33 in Belgium, Future Fictions. Perspectives on worldbuilding explores how contemporary artists, designers and architects relate to future thinking and imaging: from map-ping, questioning and criticizing, to developing complex visions about the structures and systems that may shape our life in the future. Tomorrows Thoughts Today’s Liam Young will première a 3 screen projection work ‘New City’, a series of near future city skylines. New City is a collaboration with the authors Jeff NoonPat Cadigan and Tim Maughan and musicians Coldcut.

With these visions/fictions, Z33 wishes to shift the debate away from what is possible, plausible and probable towards what is preferable: Future Fictions there-fore is essentially a project about ideas and ideals, about dreams beyond hope and fear. Can we learn to critically assess the future visions presented? Which criteria would be valid in doing so?  In other words, can we learn to become ‘future literate’? Other artists include Dunne & RabyAtelier Van Lieshout, Near Future Laboratory and many more. Curated by Karen Verschooren. Photo credit Kristof Vrancken/Z33

dystopia


Liam Young, 09 02 14


Darryl Chen from Tomorrows Thoughts Today presented an extended stream of consciousness on Productive Dystopia as part of Failed Architecture #10 Beyond Failure at Trouw Amsterdam. Also speaking on the evening were Ole Bouman (Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture), Matthias Bottger (raumtaktik), Arjen Oosterman (Volume) and Mark Studholme (Archello) moving beyond ruin porn and blind futurism to discuss the benefits of failure.

dystopia


Liam Young, 17 10 12


As part of an ongoing collaboration with Archis + Volume, Liam Young and the Unknown Fields Division have co authored VOLUME 31: Guilty Landscapes. VOLUME joined Unknown Fields on ther Summer 2011 expedition form the chernobyl Exclusion Zone to Baikonur Cosmodrome and this research, developed  alongside Unknown Fields previous missions to dislocated hinterlands around the world have informed the issues theme. Guilt has been effectively used to control and manipulate the masses. But it can also be the start of a change for the better: awareness, concern, action. Engagement and guilt are never far apart. Engagement is sublimated guilt. We can build on guilt, but can we build with guilt? Is guilt a material to design with? You can see the table of contents or check out a sneak preview of the issue.  

In three sections: revelations, confessions, and atonement, the issue presents a global scan of large-scale guilty landscapes and our design relation to them. A major section is dedicated to the Chernobyl ‘exclusion zone’ as a post nuclear disaster area, with other contributions focusing on landscapes transformed by mining industries, waste, human atrocities and more, as well as ways to atone for these criminal acts.

dystopia


Liam Young, 06 10 12


‘KINGDOM COME’.  Central America 2012 – 13.0.0.0.0

Download Kingdom Come Studio Brief

The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio run by Liam Young of Tomorrows Thoughts Today and Kate Davies. The studio ventures out on biannual expeditions to the ends of the earth exploring unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains, and obsolete ecologies. Far from the metropolis lie the dislocated hinterlands that support the mechanizations of urban life. A city like London is thoroughly embedded in a global network of landscapes and infrastructures that are typically forgotten, unseen, ignored or only presented through particular media narratives. Each year we navigate a different global cross section and seek to map the complex and contradictory realities of the present as a site of strange and extraordinary futures. For Unknown Fields the journey is really about seeing our familiar world differently; we explore these alternative worlds as a means to understand our own in new ways, either through physical expeditions or the design of speculative future projects.

This year as the world of new agers, mystics and psychonauts pilgrimage south, Unknown Fields journeys with them to Central America to ponder the rise and fall of cities, civilizations, and empires, both ancient and modern, and to investigate the cultural and technological infrastructures that underpin them – a network of complex systems that have proved critical to their prosperity and ultimately often implicated in their collapse.

Empires rise and fall and the infrastructural traces they leave behind are evidence of their greatest dreams and their deepest fears. They are the remains of a speculative future, the skeletal frames of world building dreams, the ruled lines on a page soon to be filled with the goings on of a day soon to come. In this time of crisis the future is becoming a project again. As the Mayan long count calendar begins a new phase we will imagine what comes next.

dystopia


Darryl Chen, 26 06 11


Excerpts from Darryl Chen’s Productive Dystopia essay in ‘Utopia Forever’:

“Our narrative is modernity, and our dystopias are the super-planned, re-planned and unplanned environments of the modern world. The aberrations and abandoned spaces of our modern environments, the margins that are squeezed by the excesses of development, the new natures that are produced in lieu of what was natural, the waste that is left behind after the flight of capital— these are the instable interstices of modern life. They are latent territories that are both the unforeseen consequences of our modern impulse, as well as the raw material for a renewed project on the city. (more…)

dystopia


Darryl Chen, 06 11 09


Darryl Chen (Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today) and Elena Pascolo (Urban Projects Bureau) have just launched a unit in the Bartlett’s MArch Urban Design programme. Riffing on Colin Fournier’s overall course brief of Urban Fiction, we’ll be exploring the dark side of urbanism via a rigged Spanish Inquisition-like investigation of the spatial type. Download here, or read on….

Horse+Pig, Speedism

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING

We find strangeness in the city all around us. Often the strangest and most flawed cities are the most compelling. From crime-riddled New York of the 70s, class-segregated Rio de Janeiro, hyperdense Hong Kong, and the synthetically artificial Tokyo, all are conditions of excess – often excesses of things that were good to begin with, but have become corrupted. Yet something about these cities makes them perversely attractive. Is it here we glimpse the true essence of urbanity? While we want to act upon the city with good intentions, there is no avoiding its byproducts, ruins, and failures. (more…)

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Darryl Chen, 08 04 09


J.G. Ballard could give up now. Dubai is quickly surpassing his dystopian imagination by conjuring this phenomenon from its maxed-out economy: There is now a subclass of western expats who having been made bankrupt from over-extended mortgages have been evicted from their gated villas, had their bank accounts frozen and are now seeking refuge in hotel carparks camped out in their SUVs.

Homelessness is not supposed to happen in this oasis where flowers bloom in the desert. Certainly not for white-collar executives who have been shipped in for the promotion, the tax-free paypacket, the lifestyle, the blissful unaccountability of expat life. Even in an economic downturn, we expect this savvy international class to have some fallback position, some funds back home, a legal safety net…. (more…)

dystopia


Darryl Chen, 19 12 08


With anxiety one of the themes of the early twenty-first century, it is worth revisiting Paolo Soleri and his Arcology projects of the tumultuous late-60s.

From Hexahedron, Mesa City and Babelnoah, these late-Modern and ecologically driven projects are much more than a foretelling of a clean-energy and resource-conscious future, than paint a paranoid vision of a future we perhaps now inhabit.

Hexahedron

Babelnoah

(more…)

dystopia


Darryl Chen, 26 07 08



SCENE 1: The eurostar brakes in a slick building etched from the streamlined contours of the supertrain in flight – fellow passengers are funnelled into single file behind you for effective processing – durable granite paving sets are the perfect foil for every kind of advertiser’s indecent exposure – and beyond… just beyond you can sense a shape, a crowd, a sudden roar of international bloodsport, a sign that your games are about to begin.

(more…)